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Soil Contamination- Overview and Case Study. Christopher Lyles ESS 315. How soil becomes Contaminated. Urban runoff Agricultural runoff Mining Industrial Operations Atmospheric Deposition Contaminated Groundwater. Sources of Contamination. Gas Works Park. Gas Works Park.

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how soil becomes contaminated
How soil becomes Contaminated
  • Urban runoff
  • Agricultural runoff
  • Mining
  • Industrial Operations
  • Atmospheric Deposition
  • Contaminated Groundwater
gas works park1
Gas Works Park

Previous site of coal and oil gasification (1900 to 1956)

Waste accmulations include: coal, tar, and oil

Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s )and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are present in groundwater

PCB’s, heavy metals, and cyanides also present

“Gas Works deposit” is as thick as 9 feet across the park and overlies the Vashon Till- consists of waste products from prior operations (

Developed by Seattle Parks and Recreation and subsequently studies by USGS and UW

geologic cross sections
Geologic Cross Sections
  • Important to understand the “Gas Works Deposit” as It’s interaction with the Ground Water is the main concern
contamination processes
Contamination processes
  • Weathering of Hydrocarbons in soil and NAPL’s
  • Weathering- dissoultion, volatilization, biodegradation
  • These processes release water-soluble, low molecular weight orgainc compunds into water, leaving behind stained soils containing insoluble, high molecular weight compounds
not quite polluted enough
Not Quite Polluted Enough…

…to become a superfund site (in 1980)

But polluted enough to cost tens of millions of dollars to clean up…

Puget Sound Energy and City of Seattle still continuing to monitor and clean the site

main concerns remediation techniques
Benzene (toxic/ Carcinogenic)

Naphthalene (Toxic/ non-carcinogenic)

PAHs (vary depending on type but can be both Toxic and Carcinogenic)

Air sparging/ Soil Vapor Extraction (AS/SVE)

Monitored Natural Attenuation (possible phyto-remediation to be used in future)

Direct Soil contact Remedy

Main Concerns/ Remediation Techniques