U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



1993 SWE National Convention/Student Conference Chicago Hilton & Towers, Chicago, Illinois June 21-27, 1993


Argonne National Laboratory has been performing technical investigations at sites in Nebraska and Kansas that have identified groundwater contamination by carbon tetrachloride. This comprehensive program will ultimately provide the affected communities with safe drinking water. The first step in the program is to evaluate the available data and identify sites that will require an Alternate Water Supply Study (AWSS). The objective of the AWSS is to identify options for providing a safe drinking water supply to all users, in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The AWSS consists of an engineering and cost evaluation followed by implementation of the selected alternatives. For sites with contamination less than a specific concentration, the AWSS is regarded as a satisfactory long-term solution, and no further action is taken. For those sites with concentrations above that specific limit, the AWSS implementation is regarded as only a stopgap measure, and the site is selected for additional remedial action. The first step of the remedial action is an Expedited Site Characterization (ESC). The ESC was developed at Argonne to decrease the cost and time of the remedial investigation and feasibility study while producing a high-quality technical investigation. The ESC is designed to characterize the contaminant plume configuration and movement, which requires an understanding of the geologic and hydrogeologic controls on groundwater movement as well as the nature and extent of any remaining carbon tetrachloride source in the soils. The ESC program uses a multidisciplinary technical approach that incorporates geology, geochemistry, geohydrology, and geophysics. Field activities include sampling, chemical analysis, and borehole and surface geophysical surveys. The last step of the program may involve the engineering design of a remediation system that will provide a long-term supply of safe drinking water to the affected community.