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Research key to groundwater construction project

Trainee Achievements

Research key to groundwater construction project

In October 2010, the former nuclear facility at the West Valley Demonstration Project (NY) installed the first full scale permeable treatment wall (PTW) constructed of natural zeolite to protect groundwater that discharges into the Lake Erie watershed. The key "go/no-go" decision for the process required a quantitative estimate of the potential lifetime of the PTW, which was provided by the doctoral research of IGERT trainee Shannon Seneca. Seneca's work included an international experience that provided training in research methods, a unique series of two-year duration laboratory column experiments, sophisticated numerical reactive transport modeling, and new zeolite characterization techniques, which were used extensively for both research and quality assurance during the PTW construction. The construction of the PTW in October/November 2010 received extensive national media coverage, including National Public Radio, as detailed in the Outreach section.