Development and validation of natural source zone depletion quantification protocols for sustainable remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated sites

The extraction, storage, conveyance, and refining of petroleum hydrocarbon liquids (or nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs)) often result in their accidental release into the environment. Consequently, NAPLs will travel into subsurface soils and may enter groundwater, further exacerbating the extent of contamination. Aside from being energy-intensive, disruptive of the environment, and incur treatment durations that may span several years, typical engineered remediation technologies may not capture all of the NAPLs in-place. Natural source zone depletion (NSZD) considers the natural removal of NAPLs using indigenous microorganisms that can convert the contaminants into benign end-products such as CO2. In this research, robust, cost-effective, and minimally invasive quantification technologies are investigated for estimating the rate of biodegradation in-place and to identify the areal extent of contamination.

Faculty Supervisor:

Joseph Patrick Hettiaratchi


Helen La




Engineering - civil


Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Calgary


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