Geophysical Investigations of a Ground Water Contaminant Plume - Electrical and Electromagnetic Methods
Zungalia, Edward J.
Tuck, Fred C.
Spariosu, Dann J.
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Electrical and electromagnetic geophysical methods are becoming increasingly accepted tools for the initial characterization of contaminant plumes from municipal and hazardous waste landfills (Greenhouse and Harris, 1983; Sweeney, 1984; Greenhouse and Williams, 1985). Successful geophysical plume mapping depends on a resistivity contrast between the plume and the ambient ground water and may substantially reduce the number of monitoring wells needed to determine the extent of contamination. This contrast is usually in the form of a resistivity low due to an increase in dissolved solids. The cost of sampling and analyzing for pollutants in ground water may also be reduced by the selection of appropriate tracer, or surrogate, compounds that represent groups of chemicals with similar fate and transport properties. The aim of this study is to map the leachate plume from a hazardous waste landfill in the Georgia Piedmont using three ground geophysical methods: electromagnetic (EM) ground conductivity, direct current electrical resistivity, and very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic. The reliability of the geophysical data is tested by sampling monitoring wells and homemade piezometers for a landfill constituent, tritium, which acts as an ideal tracer of leachate migration from the site.