Research and analysis

The effects of contaminated concentration on the potential for natural attenuation

The effect of contaminant concentration on the rate of natural attenuation processes in UK aquifers is presented for 18 specific contaminants.

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Detail

This document, which forms part of the Environment Agency’s outputs relating to the use of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) as a potential remedial strategy for groundwater, addreses the following specific issues:

  • the effects of contaminant concentration on the rate of natural attenuation (NA) processes in UK aquifer systems;
  • the viability of extrapolation of degradation rate data from an overseas environment to UK conditions.

The project was based upon a literature review for 18 contaminants (phenol, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, naphthalene, benzo(a)pyrene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), ethanol, Mecoprop, parathion, inorganic cyanide (CN-), tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, dichloroethane) and five NA processes that are, in part, concentration dependent (diffusion, volatilisation, sorption, abiotic degradation and biodegradation).