Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011NJ280B

Development of a Push-Pull Technique to Simultaneously Characterize Volatilization and Biodegradation Rates of VOCs in Shallow Wetland Sediments

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Matthew Reid, Peter Jaffe

Abstract: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are common groundwater contaminants in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Natural and constructed wetlands have emerged as tools for passive in-situ remediation of contaminated soils and groundwater. Volatilization is a potentially major mechanism for the removal of volatile compounds from shallow wetland sediments, yet rates of volatilization from wetland systems are not well known and current chamber-based methods for quantifying these rates suffer from major limitations. Here we propose a push-pull technique utilizing volatile tracers to quantify volatilization rates without flux chambers. This method will also provide simultaneous quantification of in-situ biodegradation rates. We will first validate this technique in a set of greenhouse mesocosm experiments intended to demonstrate enhanced VOC removal using wetland plants with strong gas exchange capacities. We will then conduct a pilot field experiment in the New Jersey Meadowlands to demonstrate the feasibility of this technique for future assessments of treatment wetlands in remediating contaminated water resources.