Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
|Sprinkler Irrigation as a
VOC Separation and Disposal Method
Sprinkler irrigation is a common farming practice in those states where the semi-arid climate and lack of sufficient rainfall during critical growing periods necessitate the use of supplemental water. The source of most irrigation water is groundwater which can be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since the groundwater may be the primary or only source of drinking water for a community, there is a need for reasonable cost-effective treatment and disposal methods. Typically, groundwater contaminated with VOCs is remediated with conventional pump and treat technologies. The costs associated with conventional pump and treat options can be significant. Since irrigation is a fairly widespread practice, there is an opportunity to employ it as a dual purpose technology: crop irrigation and separation and disposal of contaminated groundwater in order to augment conventional treatment and effect cost savings. Additional benefits of implementation include containment of the groundwater plume, elimination of discharge or reinjection of the treated groundwater, and reduced irrigation expense for site vegetative covers.
This premise provided an impetus to evaluate the performance of sprinkler irrigation for these purposes through the conduct of a SITE program demonstration. This demonstration was conducted by the National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) in July 1996 and the final report was completed in August 1997. Results and activities of the demonstration of sprinkler irrigation technology for the separation and disposal of groundwater contaminated with VOCs are detailed in this report.