The University of Sheffield
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Civil Modules

Current Module Sheet

The information contained within this module sheet is subject to change at any time.

CIV6744 Postgraduate Module

Remediation of groundwater pollution

Credits: 15

Semester : Spring

Pre-requisities : CIV6703

Year offered: 2017-18

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Prof. Steven Thornton

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Module Description:

Groundwater is an important resource for potable and industrial water supply in many parts of the world. It is vulnerable to long-term contamination from a wide variety of organic and inorganic compounds that originate from natural and anthropogenic sources in urban and rural settings. Many remediation concepts and technologies have been developed to manage and restore contaminated groundwater, according to identified risks to receptors and other objectives. Both passive and active techniques can be implemented, using biological, chemical and physical treatment approaches for in situ and ex situ applications. A key feature is the sustainability of any remediation system, as well as the need for adequate characterisation of the host media and performance assessment methods to ensure effective implementation. This module covers the scientific and technical aspects underpinning the design and implementation of remediation systems for contaminants in the unsaturated zone and saturated zone of aquifers.


To develop understanding of the technical basis and application of the most important techniques and approaches used for the in situ remediation of organic and inorganic compounds in the unsaturated zone and saturated zone of contaminated sites. This includes issues related to sustainability, monitoring and performance assessment for successful implementation. The module will develop skills in engineering design for applications to different contaminants and hydrogeological settings.

Learning Outcomes:

[1] Analyse the importance of hydrogeology, geochemistry, microbiology and heterogeneity in engineered in situ remediation design and performance

[2] Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of various remediation methodologies

[3] Critically assess site-specific factors to select and implement effective remediation strategies

[4] Calculate contaminant mass flux, amendment demand, reactor residence times and other remediation design factors

[5] Develop a conceptual model of contaminant source and plume from site data and design a practicable remediation strategy

[6] Demonstrate skills in research, reporting and presenting project work


Individual coursework in weeks 9 and 10 to design a remediation plan for a contaminated site.

Please note, these assessments may be subject to change.






Individual Coursework, this includes lab reports, designs etc (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6) 100
Spring Results Day

Assessment Preparation:

The coursework is designed to consolidate the learning about remediation techniques, their quantitative aspects and practical application. It is supported by tutorials which allow the opportunity for students to interact with the lecturer for additional learning and formative feedback. It is designed to consolidate the material presented in lectures and case studies. It also requires the students to bring together material for all aspects of the course in a single exercise.

Exam Preparation Folder


Formative feedback is given verbally throughout the intensive part of the course, and during tutorials at other times. Discussion with the tutor during these is driven by the students' understanding and questioning.

Teaching Methods :

Lectures will consist of presentations from the course instructor and guest practitioners to develop basic understanding and general knowledge of the course topics. Readings will be assigned for each lecture. These readings will not necessarily duplicate the lecture material, and students will be responsible for knowing both the lecture and readings. Some lectures will consist of tutorials, in which the instructors interacts with students in the solution of a series of practical design problems, or in the discussion and evaluation of case studies. In weeks 9 and 10, students will evaluate a case study to design a remediation plan for a contaminated site using knowledge and skills learnt in the lectures and tutorial sessions.

Please note, these are the approximate hours spent on each teaching activity.




Lectures 21
Tutorials Practical Classes 6
Coursework Design Projects 40
Independent Study(including Prep for Assessment) Private Study including Group Working 81
Invigilated Examination Written Examination 2

Outline of Syllabus:

1. Groundwater Plumes

NAPL dissolution and mass flux
Contaminant plumes and risk concepts (overview)

2. Overview of Remediation Technologies

Setting remediation goals - strategic flux reduction
Development of conceptual site models for implementation
Sustainable remediation

3. Active remediation

Pump-and-treat, air sparging/bioventing, in situ chemical oxidation, amendment
injection, applications

4. Passive remediation

Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs), funnel-and-gates, passive amendment delivery, natural attenuation, bioremediation, electrokinetic remediation
Treatment trains for mixed contaminants, applications

5. Permeable reactive barriers

Concepts, flow aspects of PRBs,  reactive materials, residence times, outline design, applications

6. Natural attenuation

Concepts, processes, applications

7. Ex situ and in situ bioremediation

Concepts, processes, applications

8. Remediation monitoring and performance assessment

Amendment injection - effect of hydrogeology and supply/demand issues
Effects of spatial and temporal heterogeneity - monitoring and characterisation

Health & Safety:


Recommended Reading:

(Click to see)

[1] RecommendedNyer, EK (2001) In Situ Treatment Technology, Lewis Publishers. ISBN: 1566705282

Bedient PB, Rifai HS, Newell CJ (1999) Ground Water Contamination: Transport and Remediation, Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0130138401