Superfund Research Program
Remediation research targeted for the cleanup of groundwater, sediments, soil and other environmental media has been a very strong and successful component of SRP. SRP-funded researchers have developed innovative biological, chemical, and physical methods that effectively remove and/or reduce the amount of hazardous wastes.
Many of these remediation projects are very pragmatic, frequently with direct applications to Superfund sites. These innovative technologies provide practical benefits such as lower cleanup costs at hazardous waste sites, improvements in human and ecological health and reduced risk. Examples include:
A New Solar-Powered Approach for Groundwater Decontamination (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/srp/researchbriefs/view.cfm?Brief_ID=211) : A research team led by Akram Alshawabkeh, Ph.D., from the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program has developed a new, low-cost strategy for remediating trichloroethylene (TCE).
Bioremediation of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) : Dr. Kate Scow, Project Investigator at the University of California – Davis was instrumental in a collaboration with a team of experts led by Haley & Aldrich in achieving an innovative solution that led to the successful bioremediation of a methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) -contaminated drinking water aquifer in North Hollywood, CA.
Chemical Intervention Strategies: Studies led by Dr. Timothy Phillips at the Texas A&M SRP have shown that heat-treated clays can be chemically amended to increase their sorptive properties.
Grantee with Midas touch speaks at NIEHS (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/4/science-midastouch/index.htm) : Small Business Innovation Research grantee Patrick James, Ph.D., is developing a way to turn hazardous waste into valuable metals—and a sustainable business opportunity.
Hurt Laboratory, Brown University : The Brown University (BU) Superfund Research Program's (SRP) team of researchers, led by Dr. Robert Hurt, discovered that a variant of a substance called nanoselenium can absorb most of the mercury emitted from broken and spent compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
In situ Bioremediation of TCE : Dr. Jennifer Field is developing and evaluating cost-effective and efficient technologies for monitoring and enhancing in situ biodegradation in anaerobic groundwater of trichloroethene (trichloroethylene, TCE), one of our nation's most prevalent groundwater pollutants.
Phytoremediation of Organic Solvents : Building on more than a decade of basic, mechanistic research, Drs. Milton Gordon and Lee Newman at the University of Washington SRP have developed and implemented phytoremediation techniques to remove organic contaminants from soil and groundwater. The techniques they developed are faster and significantly less expensive than conventional in situ and ex situ remediation processes. Currently, Drs. Strand and Doty are furthering Gordon and Newman's research by focusing on the metabolism of TCE in transgenic poplar cuttings.
Regeneration of Saturated Carbon Adsorbents: Dr. Chang Yul Cha, President of the Cha Corporation constructed a field-ready prototype microwave reactor system for recovering chemicals from soil vapor produced from Superfund Site remediation operations.
Researchers discover how Geobacter remove uranium contamination (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2011/october/science-geobacter/index.cfm) :Independent researcher Gemma Reguera, Ph.D., reveals how Geobacter bacteria use their conductive hair-like filaments or pili to clean up nuclear waste and other contamination.
SRP patents licensed for water applications (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/12/science-SRPKentucky/index.htm) : The functional membrane technology, described in three patents, degrades waterborne contaminants, sequesters heavy metals at very high capacity, and uses synthesized nanoparticles.
SRP Research results in site deletion from EPA National Priorities List : The Southern California Edison Superfund site in Visalia, CA was removed from the National Priorities List thanks to remediation technology developed by Dr. Kent Udell with SRP funding. The Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE) began as an alternative remediation method to the then-operating pump and treat method. SEE achieved clean-up standards sooner than pump and treat technology and saved nearly $80 Million.
Superfund study shows arsenic mitigation strategies effective (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2011/november/science-superfund/index.cfm) : SRP alum Kathleen Radloff, Ph.D., shows that water from deep wells in Bangladesh can be made safer from arsenic contamination by limiting the amount of water that is pumped.
Texas A&M System Inventors Recognized: Dr. Timothy D. Phillips, SRP project investigator, received an Innovation Award from the Office of Technology Commercialization at Texas A&M University. Phillips was recognized for his toxicology research related to hazardous chemical and microbial contaminants of food, particularly the aflatoxins.