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Hastings Groundwater Contamination Site

National Information

Fact Sheet

Demonstration of VOC
Treatment and Disposal Via
Spray Irrigation
Hastings, Nebraska

To describe EPA's SITE Program demonstration of VOC Treatment and Disposal Via Spray Irrigation.
To announce the EPA Visitor's Day scheduled for July 15, 1996, in Hastings, Nebraska.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will perform a technology demonstration at a contaminated ground water site in Hastings, Nebraska. The demonstration is part of the EPA's Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program. The SITE Program, created in 1986, evaluates new and promising treatment technologies for addressing hazardous waste site contamination.

The technology is a Center Pivot spray Irrigation system which was developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers. The irrigation system is equipped with off-the-shelf fog producing impact pads for improved efficiency. The demonstration will evaluate the ability of this technology to remove (strip) volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from contaminated groundwater. The effluent contaminant levels will be evaluated against cleanup criteria set by the EPA, Region 7.

As part of the Western Governor's Association initiative for innovative technologies, several state environmental agencies, representatives from the Navy Facilities Engineering Centers, US Army Corps of Engineers, and other stakeholders reviewed the demonstration plan. The purpose is to use this demonstration to identify appropriate applications of the spray irrigation alternative for states and federal facilities.


The arm of a sprinkler irrigation system can be short or long, depending on the availability of water and land. Sprinkler irrigation systems are widely used throughout the country and the world for crop production because of the capability to irrigate sandy areas and hilly terrains. These systems are self propelled, highly mechanized, and efficient. Sprinkler irrigation systems apply water uniformly, reduce leaching, and have low labor and operating requirements. They do not require land leveling and start-up costs are low.

The heart of the sprinkler irrigation system is the nozzle. By placing nozzles at relatively close intervals along an elevated pipeline, field water application is essentially uniform. The amount of sprayed water is controlled by the speed with which the "pivot" or "linear" travels across the field.

When irrigation water is applied using the sprinkler method, the water is distributed over the irrigated area by a spray. The nozzles are configured to have a small opening from which a stream of water is emitted. The high velocity stream strikes an impact pad and forms a thin film of water. The film breaks up into small droplets as it leaves the pad. The droplet size depends on the pressure and the impact pad design.


A SITE Demonstration using a center pivot irrigation system will be performed at the North Landfill Subsite in Hastings, Nebraska. The 20-ha (50-acre) site is a furrow-irrigated corn field underlain by commingled plumes of contaminated groundwater, located on the eastern edge of Hastings, Nebraska. The ground water is 36.5 m (120 feet) below the land surface and contains trace levels of the solvents 1,1,2-trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and the fungicides carbon tetrachloride (CT) ethylene dibromide (EDB). Also present are traces of solvent and fungicide degradates such as 1,1-DCE, trans 1,2-dichloroethylene and chloroform. A grain elevator up gradient is the source of the fungicides while the solvents are allegedly from an abandoned landfill and industrial sites located southwest of the elevator.


The primary goal of the SITE Demonstration is to determine the efficiency of sprinkler irrigation as a method for remediating VOC-contaminated ground water to levels below the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). The results of previous tests indicate removal rates of EDB, TCE, TCA, and CT that exceeded 95% in most cases. In some instances the removal rate approached 100%. Monitoring of system parameters will also be performed to characterize the operation of the system.

Samples will be sent to the EPA Office of Research and Development laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio. The EPA will analyze the liquid samples for the volatile compounds of interest. All data will be collected using strict quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures. These data will be used to determine whether the sprinkler irrigation system has met the cleanup objectives specified by the EPA Region 7.

Operational information such as treatment rates, temperatures, and pressures will be collected during the course of treatment. An economic evaluation of the technology will also be performed based on available information.


The final products of the SITE Demonstration will be a Technology Bulletin and an innovative Technology Evaluation Report. A videotape of the demonstration may also be produced.

A summary of the comments, questions, and suggestions offered by state and federal reviewers will be included in the final report.

Questions regarding the center pivot spray irrigation system should be directed to:

Roy Spalding
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Water Center/Environmental programs
103 Natural Resources Hall
P.O. Box 830844
Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0844
(402) 472-7558
FAX: (402) 472-9599

Questions concerning the SITE Demonstration should be directed to:

Teri Richardson
EPA SITE Project Manager
National Risk Management Research Laboratory
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45268
(513) 569-7949
FAX: (513) 569-7105

Questions concerning the EPA Region 7 cleanup at the North Landfill, South Landfill, FAR-MAR-CO, and former NAD subsites at the Hastings site should be directed to:

Bill Gresham
US EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
(913) 551-7804
Toll-free (IA, KS, MO, NE)

Questions concerning the EPA Region 7 cleanup at the Well #3, Colorado Ave., and Second Street subsites at the Hastings site should be directed to:

Darrell Sommerhauser
US EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
(913) 551-7804
Toll-free (IA, KS, MO, NE)

Questions concerning the state and federal facilities participation should be directed to:

Richard Schlenker
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
PO Box 98922
1200 N. Street
Lincoln, NE 68509-8922
(402) 471-2186
FAX: (402) 471-2909

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the US EPA would like to express appreciation to Morrison Enterprises for installing the sprinkler irrigation system and operating it during previous tests and this Demonstration. Additionally, we would like to thank the farmers, Davie Utecht and Kenneth Craig for permitting access to the site and apologize for any inconvenience.

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