Biogeochemistry & Biogeophysics

Susan Hubbard

Susan Hubbard in the fieldAlthough remediation strategies are commonly implemented for contaminated sites, the lack of clear understanding of the links between subsurface biogeochemical and hydrological properties and processes often hinder efficient and effective remediation. In addition to natural variabilities of biogeochemical-hydrogeological properties under static conditions, many remediation approaches that are being considered, tested, or implemented also induce dynamic transformations in the system. Examples where strongly coupled processes play a large role in remediation success include, among others, in-situ redox manipulation for removal of chlorinated hydrocarbons and bioremediation. Potential alterations due to remediation treatments include, for example, dissolution and precipitation of minerals, gas evolution, biofilm generation, and changes in permeability and porosity.

We are investigating the capability to characterize and monitor changes in hydrological-biogeochemical properties/processes using geophysical measurements at both the laboratory column and the field-scales. A better understanding of the sensitivity of geophysical methods to such transformations is necessary in order to use these methods to improve the design of remediation schemes, to determine the subsurface treatment zone of influence, or ultimately to assess the efficacy of active remediation at many contaminated sites.

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