Field applications of nZVI start by delineating the contaminant plume, the source zone, and groundwater flow regime so the treatment can be effectively designed (i.e.location of injection and monitoring wells can be selected) and applied. Site characterization is extremely important prior to application of this or any remediation technology. Reactive nanoparticles are injected to the desired zone though injection wells located upgradient or within the source zone.
nZVI particles are unstable and highly reactive to atmospheric oxygen. In order to safely inject them into the ground, and to increase mobility, they are “attached” to other substrates, such as a starchy polymer. This is the research topic of Prof Edgar Acosta, whose research group is investigating the use of nZVI in combination with polymers to increase the stability of the particles and with surfactants to improve their delivery to the contaminated areas.