The U.S. Geological Survey investigated natural and engineered remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compound (VOC) ground-water contamination at Solid Waste Management Unit 12 at the Naval Weapons Station Charleston, North Charleston, South Carolina, beginning in 2000. The primary contaminants of interest in the study are tetrachloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethane, and 1,1-dichloroethene.
The permeable reactive barrier (PRB) along the main axis of the contaminant plume appears to be actively removing contamination. In contrast to the central area of the PRB, the data from the southern end of the PRB indicate that contaminants are moving around the PRB. Concentrations in wells 12MW-10S and 12MW-03S, upgradient from the PRB, showed a general decrease in VOC concentrations.
VOC concentrations in some wells in the forest showed a sharp increase, followed by a decrease. In 2007, the VOC concentrations began to increase in well 12MW-12S, downgradient from the PRB and thought to be unaffected by the PRB. The VOC-concentration changes in the forest, such as at well 12MW-12S, may represent lateral shifting of the plume in response to changes in ground-water-flow direction or may represent movement of a contamination pulse through the forest.