AQUIFER TESTING AND REBOUND STUDY IN SUPPORT OF THE 100-H DEEP CHROMIUM INVESTIGATION

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The 100-HR-3 Groundwater Operable Unit (OU) second Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) 5-year review (DOEIRL-2006-20, The Second CERCLA Five-Year Review Report for the Hanford Site) set a milestone to conduct an investigation of deep hexavalent chromium contamination in the sediments of the Ringold upper mud (RUM) unit, which underlies the unconfined aquifer in the 100-H Area. The 5-year review noted that groundwater samples from one deep well extending below the aquitard (i.e., RUM) exceeded both the groundwater standard of 48 parts per billion (ppb) (Ecology Publication 94-06, Model Toxics Control Act Cleanup Statute and Regulation) ... continued below

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JL, SMOOT November 5, 2010.

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  • Hanford Site (Wash.)
    Publisher Info: Hanford Site (HNF), Richland, WA (United States))
    Place of Publication: Richland, Washington

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The 100-HR-3 Groundwater Operable Unit (OU) second Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) 5-year review (DOEIRL-2006-20, The Second CERCLA Five-Year Review Report for the Hanford Site) set a milestone to conduct an investigation of deep hexavalent chromium contamination in the sediments of the Ringold upper mud (RUM) unit, which underlies the unconfined aquifer in the 100-H Area. The 5-year review noted that groundwater samples from one deep well extending below the aquitard (i.e., RUM) exceeded both the groundwater standard of 48 parts per billion (ppb) (Ecology Publication 94-06, Model Toxics Control Act Cleanup Statute and Regulation) and the federal drinking water standard of 100 {mu}g/L for hexavalent chromium. The extent of hexavalent chromium contamination in this zone is not well understood. Action 12-1 from the 5-year review is to perform additional characterization of the aquifer below the initial aquitard. Field characterization and aquifer testing were performed in the Hanford Site's 100-H Area to address this milestone. The aquifer tests were conducted to gather data to answer several fundamental questions regarding the presence of the hexavalent chromium in the deep sediments of the RUM and to determine the extent and magnitude of deeper contamination. The pumping tests were performed in accordance with the Description of Work for Aquifer Testing in Support of the 100-H Deep Chromium Investigation (SGW-41302). The specific objectives for the series of tests were as follows: (1) Evaluate the sustainable production of the subject wells using step-drawdown and constant-rate pumping tests. (2) Collect water-level data to evaluate the degree of hydraulic connection between the RUM and the unconfined (upper) aquifer (natural or induced along the well casing). (3) Evaluate the hydraulic properties of a confined permeable layer within the RUM.; (4) Collect time-series groundwater samples during testing to evaluate the extent and persistence of hexavalent chromium in the deeper zones. Use data collected to refine the current conceptual model for the 100-H Area unconfined aquifer and the RUM in this area. (5) Evaluate the concentration 'rebound' in the unconfined aquifer of hexavalent chromium and the contaminants of concern during shutdown of the extraction wells. Measure co-contaminants at the beginning, middle, and end of each pumping test. The RUM is generally considered an aquitard in the 100-HR-3 OU; however, several water-bearing sand layers are present that are confined within the RUM. The current hydrogeologic model for the 100-H Area aquifer system portrays the RUM as an aquitard layer that underlies the unconfined aquifer, which may contain permeable zones, stringers, or layers. These permeable zones may provide pathways for chromium to migrate deeper into the RUM under certain hydrogeologic conditions. One condition may be the discharge of large volumes of cooling water that occurred near the former H Reactor, which caused a mound of groundwater to form 4.9 to 10.1 m (16 to 33 ft) above the natural water table. The cooling water reportedly contained 1 to 2 mglL of hexavalent chromium for corrosion prevention. Three alternate hypotheses for the introduction of hexavalent chromium into the RUM are as follows: (1) Local groundwater with higher concentrations of hexavalent chromium originating from reactor operations at H Reactor was driven by high heads from groundwater mounding in the unconfined aquifer into the RUM via permeable pathways in the upper surface of the RUM. (2) Local groundwater with hexavalent chromium was introduced from the unconfined aquifer via well boreholes, either during drilling or as a result of poor well construction, allowing hydraulic communication between the unconfined aquifer and the RUM. (3) Hexavalent chromium migrated across the Hom area within the more permeable zones of the RUM. The three wells used for the aquifer pumping tests (199-H3-2C, 199-H4-12C, and 199-H4-15CS) exhibit hexavalent chromium contamination in confined aquifer groundwater that may be the result of one of the mechanisms described above. The purpose of the aquifer testing was to gather data to help refine the conceptual model for the source of deep contamination, examine the potential hydraulic connection between the RUM and the unconfined aquifer, evaluate the hydraulic properties of a confined layer within the RUM, and indicate the extent of hexavalent chromium contamination in the RUM. The results of this study, in conjunction with the recent Hom area investigation (DOE/RL-2008-42, Hydrogeological Summary Report for 600 Area Between 100-D and 100-H for the 100-HR-3 Groundwater Operable Unit), suggest that the first hypothesis is the most reasonable explanation. The results indicate persistent chromium concentrations over the duration of the tests, suggesting a large-scale emplacement of chromium.

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  • Report No.: SGW-47776 Rev 0
  • Grant Number: DE-AC06-08RL14788
  • DOI: 10.2172/1038045 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1038045
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc834941

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  • November 5, 2010

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 6:20 p.m.

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JL, SMOOT. AQUIFER TESTING AND REBOUND STUDY IN SUPPORT OF THE 100-H DEEP CHROMIUM INVESTIGATION, report, November 5, 2010; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc834941/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.