Technology Innovation & Development Areas
The technical framework of the initiative is organized around the following key technical targets:
- hydrogeologic and biogeochemical controlling processes
- subsurface hydrogeologic and biogeochemical heterogeneities
- subsurface access and delivery
- predictive modeling.
These five technical targets address the critical challenges underpinning our understanding and ability to control the flux of contaminants within subsurface environments. This framework defines the project work scope based on needs generated by specific DOE sites and the scientific and technical uncertainties underlying these needs that will result in an improved basis for vadose zone remediation of metals and radionuclides. Key scientific and technical research thrust areas being advanced by this initiative are represented by the following questions:
- How can the potential for long-term contaminant persistence in the vadose zone be evaluated and quantified (e.g., through characterization or modeling) to support remedy selection, implementation, and monitoring? What information is needed to support deployment of appropriate characterization and modeling tools?
- What factors control the long-term persistence of vadose zone sources? What scientific information is needed to improve the description of these factors? What types of remediation processes have the potential to address long-term persistence and mass flux issues?
- How can the contaminant mass flux from the vadose zone to the groundwater be evaluated and quantified (e.g., through characterization, monitoring, or modeling) to support remedy selection, implementation, and long-term monitoring? How can this mass flux be monitored and predicted in ways that provide an effective metric that can be implemented for vadose zone remediation?
- What are the scientific or technical uncertainties preventing appropriate deployment of these technologies? If necessary, how can these remedies be maintained and monitored over long time periods? Are there enhancements or technologies that can be used in combination that could accelerate or improve vadose zone remedy performance?
The main technical thrust areas are