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Land Risk Management Research

Advective Flux Meter for Sediment-Water Interface

Contaminated Soil and Sediments
Contaminated Soil and Sediments

Land Treatment of Biosolids

Advective Flux Meter for Sediment-Water Interface

An advective flux meter system
An advective flux meter system.

Approximately 10 percent of the sediments underlying our nation's surface water are contaminated. Common contaminants of sediments are nutrients, bulk organics (e.g., oil and grease), persistent organics such as DDT, and

PCBs, PAHs, and metals such as mercury and arsenic. Groundwater and surface water are interconnected; depending on the hydraulic gradient, groundwater can discharge into, or recharge from, surface water. In areas where groundwater discharges through the contaminated sediment into the surface water, deposited contaminants can potentially be transported to the upper layer or released to the water column by the processes of advection and diffusion. As a result, benthic organisms and open-water species are either directly exposed to the contaminants or indirectly through the contaminated food chain. This direct or indirect exposure can cause health risks to the aquatic life and human consumers.

At sites with environmentally impacted sediment, accurately measuring the rate of groundwater movement as it discharges through sediment into a surface water body is necessary to assess contaminant transport, biodegradation, and remedial measures such as subaqueous caps. The objective of this project is to develop a dependable advective flux measuring device that measures the flux of water at the sediment interface between surface water and groundwater, which may lead to more effective risk assessment and management of contaminated sediments. The figure illustrates the device evaluated in this project, the bidirectional advective flux meter for measuring water transport across the sediment-water interface, which has been successfully developed and tested in the field.


Bob Lien
U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division
26 W. Martin Luther King Dr.
Mail Code: 190
Cincinnati, OH 45268

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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