Development of cleanup technologies for the management of US military installations
In 1989 the environmental restoration programmes conducted independently by the US Army, Navy and Air Force were rationalized to jointly support research and technology transfer in this important field. By 1994 cleanup efforts were concentrated in four main areas: site investigation, groundwater modelling, treatment technologies and the fate/impact of potential contaminants. Since 1994, technology development has moved forward rapidly. Groundwater monitoring wells have served as the conventional method of collecting groundwater samples, although direct pushed technologies are now providing a faster and cheaper alternative. A range of groundwater models has been supported and a model is being developed for the Army to forecast the fate and risk of constituents derived from munitions. Cleanup technologies are increasingly moving away from processes that remove sediment or groundwater to in situ solutions. These include range management using lime, the establishment of biologically active zones for indigenous microbes, and phytoremediation. The environmental fate of contaminants has been predicted using flexible models. Examples are given from a number of sites including the US Military Academy at West Point and Langley Air Force Base. Investment continues to support studies to provide safer, faster and better remediation of contaminants related to past military use.