Power of Simplicity: The EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Cleanup Technologies

Sep 18, 2017

Environmental Enlightenment #217

See our Newsletter, Environmental Enlightenment #200, for introduction to one highly valuable, plainly written series of Citizen’s Guides published by the EPA at http://www.clu-in.org/products/citguide

With this issue we introduce the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Phytoremediation. You can reach it through the hyperlink under the blue header below.


Pump and Treat  is what the name says.

We extract contaminated groundwater.

We remove the contaminants in aboveground equipment.

And we find use for the decontaminated water.

When all else fails, we use Pump and Treat.

Imagine a source that has injected contamination into the ground, and it injected so much that the contaminants have saturated the soil and reached the aquifer.

We remove the primary source.

And we are left with loaded subterranean soil, saturated with the chemical and leaching it out to the aquifer where it dissolves into the water.

We call it Secondary Source.

The amount that dissolves into the water, miniscule as it may be, can present risk to life.

The Treatment part of Pump and Treat purifies the water.

However, as Pump and Treat does not directly attack the secondary source, the mass sitting in the soil will keep dripping into the aquifer for ages to come.

It can take decades, many, many long years, to handle a source this way.

This technology is used in many EPA Superfund sites, but is not the technology of choice where fast solution is desired, a solution that can be supported by the economics of the case.

Go to the EPA’s Citizen’s Pump and Treat http://www.clu-in.org/download/Citizens/a_citizens_guide_to_pump_and_treat.pdf for the rest. It is simple and fun to read.


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