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During an investigation of an electronics manufacturing facility located in a predominantly residential area of Morris County, New Jersey, metals contamination was identified in the groundwater beneath the site. The site was approximately 15.5 acres and included a pond classified as State Open Water, and a low-lying area, which was designated as freshwater wetlands. The investigation was performed pursuant to New Jersey's Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA). Due to its proximity to residential properties, its relationship with the community, and its on-site use of groundwater as a potable water supply, the facility's objective was to quickly and efficiently remediate the groundwater to New Jersey's groundwater quality standards (GWQS).

To address the contamination, an aggressive delineation program and innovative remediation technology were implemented at the site. The remediation was initiated and completed within a seven (7) month period utilizing a pilot system consisting of groundwater recovery and treatment using Forager™ Sponge Technology under a temporary permit-by-rule issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Subsequent monitoring of the groundwater for one year confirmed the successful remediation of the groundwater. Following the confirmation monitoring, the NJDEP issued an Unrestricted Use/No Further Action letter for the site, which fulfilled the client's objectives.

Operations began at the site in the 1930's and included manufacturing electronic assemblies for the radio broadcast, telecommunications, and test/measurement industries. From approximately 1968 to 1980, operations included printed circuit board manufacturing and assembly; metal finishing operations, printing and silk screening. During historic operations, waste streams at the site were discharged to on-site septic systems and a lagoon.

The investigation of the septic systems identified cadmium in one area. The area was subsequently evaluated and delineated using groundwater probes and temporary well points. The concentrations of cadmium ranged from 14 to 58 parts per billion (ppb), which were above the groundwater quality standard (GWQS) of 4 ppb.

An evaluation of remedial alternatives was performed to determine an appropriate strategy for addressing the cadmium contamination. Traditional metals treatment processes, such as precipitation and ion exchange, were evaluated. However, given the site-specific characteristics (type, level and location of contamination), limited space, maintenance requirements (and anticipated costs, these technologies were not considered appropriate for the site. Rather, an innovative technology, Forager™ Sponge treatment material was identified as being the most appropriate and cost effective for the site. The Forager™ Sponge material is designed to remove heavy metals through a process of selective affinity. The results of the bench-scale testing, performed at the site, indicated that the Forager™ Sponge Technology was capable of providing cadmium removal efficiencies of 65 percent to 100 percent.

After identifying the treatment technology, potential discharge locations were evaluated. The alternatives included discharging the water to an existing stream on-site or re-injecting it to the groundwater. Based on permitting requirements and the time constraints of the client, reinjection of the treated water under a permit-by-rule was identified as the most expeditious discharge alternative. Based on the hydrogeologic conditions of the site this approach not only provided a readily available and technically sound discharge location, but also created a recycling process that promoted the flushing of contaminants from the source area.

During the pilot remediation test, approximately 1,728,000 gallons of groundwater were recovered and treated with the Forager™ Sponge material. This corresponded to the removal of approximately 70 pore-volumes of water from the primary source of contamination. At the completion of the test, the concentrations were well below the GWQS.

Following the pilot remediation test, quarterly groundwater monitoring was performed in this area for a period of one year to confirm the effectiveness of the remediation activities. The results of the quarterly monitoring confirmed that the concentrations of cadmium remained below the GWQS and that no further remediation was necessary. Accordingly, the NJDEP issued an Unrestricted Use/No Further Action letter for the site.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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