2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


DRAKE, K. David, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 901 N. 5th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101 and ELMORE, Andrew Curtis, Geological Engineering, Univ of Missouri - Rolla, 129 McNutt Hall, 1870 Miner Circle, Rolla, MO 65409-0420, drake.dave@epa.gov

Groundwater and energy conservation are recognized as important issues in terms of conserving water resources, preserving fossil fuels, and reducing harmful emissions related to fossil fuel combustion. Major initiatives have been successful at reducing the energy consumption of automobiles, heating and cooling systems, electrical fixtures, and industrial processes. However, there are few, if any, instances of directly applying renewable energy to power groundwater remediation systems. When a renewable energy source, such as wind power, is coupled with a below grade extraction and treatment system for contaminated groundwater, such as groundwater circulation well (GCW) technology, an optimum environmental cleanup approach is achieved.

The use of renewable wind energy to power active groundwater remediation systems has the potential to provide greater overall protection of human health and the environment by reducing air emissions associated with the combustion of fossil fuels, and in conjunction with the use of GCWs, this approach conserves groundwater resources as well as fossil fuel resources. GCWs are stand-alone systems with relatively small power requirements; thus, they are quite amenable for operation with a renewable energy power supply. Moreover, domestic wind turbine generators are readily available and provide an adequate power supply for GCWs. Finally, GCWs conserve groundwater resources because contaminated water is extracted through one interval of the well, treated, and the remediated groundwater is recharged through a separate interval in the same well.

A pilot study utilizing a 10 kilowatt wind turbine and GCW treatment well was conducted at a Superfund site in Nebraska during 2004. The project has illustrated the cost effectiveness of using a renewable energy source to power a water conserving, remediation system. Contaminat mass removal has been accomplished in an environmentally efficienct manner; groundwater and fossil fuel resources have been conserved and the negative consequences of fossil fuel combustion have been reduced. Additionally, the system may have future utility at remote environmental sites where electrical grid power is unavailable or cost prohibitive. The study results also provide important public outreach that fosters the use of renewable energy and water conservation in diverse applications.