The detection and mapping of buried waste
Abstract. Determining the exact location of buried waste trenches is an important step in the characterization and remediation of certain hazardous waste sites. Remotely sensed data offers a rich source of information for accomplishing this task. This paper presents an investigation of buried waste trenches located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) using thermal remote sensing. A comparison of historical aerial photography and recently collected thermal imagery reveals a thermal signature which coincides with the precise locations of buried waste trenches. Statistical analysis of extensive ground measurements shows a clear thermal difference between the trench and control areas, with the trenches exhibiting cooler temperatures and greater soil moisture. By incorporating the imagery-derived information into site remediation plans, ORNL realized a cost avoidance of more than U.S. $5 000 000. Similar benefits can be anticipated at other DOE waste sites.