Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Alex Mayer

Committee Member 1

Rupali Datta

Committee Member 2

Rod Chimner

Committee Member 3

Dibyendu Sarkar

Committee Member 4

Eric Seagren


This project details the design of a sorption based pilot-scale permeable reactive barrier (PRB) for the removal of copper from groundwater. The reactive material for the barrier is the residual of coagulants used in drinking water treatment operations. Physical and chemical properties of these water treatment residuals (WTR) have been studied to optimize PRB design. Batch reactor tests have shown that equilibrium sorption of copper can be fit to a Langmuir type isotherm. Kinetic and column experiments have been conducted to understand the significance of chemical and physical mass transfer limitations. A leaching test indicated the concentrations of hazardous elements leached from the residuals do not exceed specified limits. Permeameter tests were performed with various mixtures of the WTR and an inert support material (pea gravel) to determine the ideal mix for matching the hydraulic conductivity of the field site. Additional work has been conducted at the site to determine groundwater flow direction, pore water velocity, and contaminant concentration for designing the optimal dimensions and placement of the PRB.