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New groundwater decontamination method developed

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a form of soil and aquifer decontamination, pollutant plume capture, and treatment using a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB). The PRB is installed by injection (not by excavation) and uses humic substances to facilitate subsurface interception, retention, and treatment of groundwater contaminants released by industrial and agricultural sources.

According to the method’s inventor, Kirk Hatfield, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, once installed, this system operates passively, with no active pumping involved, to decontaminate water flowing from contaminated soil and subsurface pollutant sources without producing any kind of additional contaminants. It replaces more expensive techniques such as the "pump and treat" method for water treatment and plume capture.

Hatfield notes the following advantages:

  • the non-invasive method of application reduces further detriment to the surrounding environment;
  • it is easier to install as a noninvasive method, reducing expenses associated with time and labor necessary for application as compared with the traditional forms of PRB;
  • humic substances are an inexpensive organic component for the PRB process, providing a cost-efficient method compared with traditional PRB treatments; and
  • the system provides decontamination for various forms of soil and water treatment, offering multiple market applications.

For more information, contact Karl Zawoy, University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing, at 352-392-8929, or via e-mail at kzawoy@ufl.edu.