Evaluation of Source-Zone Attenuation at LUFT Sites with Mobile LNAPL

Authors: P. Kulkarni, T. McHugh, C. Newell, S. Garg
Published: July 2015 in Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal pages 917-929.


The objective of this study is to better understand the effect of mobile LNAPL on source-zone attenuation at sites using a statistical evaluation of 3,523 leaking underground fuel tank (LUFT) sites from GeoTracker, an extensive database of chemical release sites in California. Our analysis indicates that sites with mobile LNAPL (i.e., sites with measurable LNAPL thicknesses in one or more groundwater monitoring wells (LNAPL sites)) have higher maximum dissolved groundwater constituent concentrations and significantly slower source-zone attenuation rates (i.e., changes in maximum concentrations over time) compared to sites with a history of no measurable LNAPL thickness (non-LNAPL sites). However, the evaluation indicates that, for mobile LNAPL sites, physical recovery (skimming and bailing) does not increase source attenuation rates. The results suggest a need for more careful evaluation of the potential benefits of physical LNAPL technologies.