AECOM and University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) Continue Nanotechnology Collaboration With Bench-Scale Testing of Nanomaterials for Site Remediation

AECOM and University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) Continue Nanotechnology Collaboration With Bench-Scale Testing of Nanomaterials for Site Remediation

AECOM and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Bren School of Environmental Science and Management are continuing their research collaboration with new bench-scale testing of nanomaterials and other new products for use in groundwater remediation. AECOM’s global environmental practice is a world leader in developing environmental solutions.

The new AECOM and UCSB bench-scale studies will test use of several zero valent iron (ZVI) products, including nano zero valent iron (nZVI), on the remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) a common contaminant at groundwater remediation sites. nZVI products were selected for the study because they have a much greater surface area than conventional iron powders, which make them more effective in certain site remediation scenarios.

The bench-scale studies will use samples of these new products on groundwater and geologic materials collected from a former manufacturing site to evaluate the morphology or structure of the products as well as their mobility, persistence, and toxicity to aquatic organisms.

According to Dr. Dora Chiang, P.E. Project Design Engineer with AECOM’s environmental practice in Atlanta, “We have had an in situ bioremediation system in place for several years and will be using an nZVI or other ZVI products to supplement biodegradation of the CVOCs. Enhanced non-biological degradation, coupled with ongoing biodegradation of CVOCs, will likely result in a reduction in treatment time by remediating CVOCs to below their respective federal drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). This new treatment technology may save significant life-cycle cleanup costs while ensuring protection of human health and the environment.”

According to Bill Looney, AECOM’s environmental practice Nanotechnology Initiative Director, “Our partnership with the Bren School allows us to quickly take advantage of this world-class research institution’s capabilities for testing nZVI and other new materials. This project continues our joint efforts to better understand environmental fate and transport and toxicity of nanomaterials. By thoroughly assessing the impacts of nZVI and the other ZVI products in the environment, we can understand, evaluate, and control potential risks and enable selection of the safest, most cost-effective products for use in remediation.”

Dr. Arturo A. Keller, Co-Director of UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, will direct the research at UCSB, in coordination with Prof. Hunter Lenihan. Prof. Keller states that “there is great potential in using nZVI and related technologies to solve a wide range of contamination issues. However, we need to determine the potential risks to achieve safe implementation of this important technology. Collaboration with AECOM is a great example of a timely delivery of information from academia to industry so that decisions can have a solid scientific basis.”

In other nanomaterial-related projects, AECOM’s Toxicology Laboratory, has investigated the aquatic toxicity of nZVI and other nanomaterials. For the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, AECOM economists and technical experts analyzed social and economic impacts of nanotechnology in the health & medicine, energy, water and food sectors.

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