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Project Name: Treatment of Chromium from Groundwater Recovery System
Country: USA
Description: Expansion of an existing U. S. Department of Energy facility High Explosive (HE) groundwater treatment system to encompass a chromium impacted area necessitated the design and installation of a chromium pretreatment system. The resultant system abated HE and chromium in a perched aquifer underlying the Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant. Two distinct contaminant plumes existed within the aquifer; one containing 3 to 5 ppm HE, and the other containing a combination of 0.5 to 2 ppm HE and 1 to 5 ppm total chromium. Extraction wells delivered 300 gpm HE contaminated water to an activated carbon treatment system. Three additional extraction wells allowed 50 gpm of groundwater contaminated with HE and chromium to be segregated for pretreatment of total and hexavalent chromium to less than 100 mg/L. To meet an expedited schedule, rapid completion of treatability testing, cost analysis, and design was accomplished. Treatability testing concentrated on anion exchange and chemical treatment technologies. Anion exchange resin isotherms were developed to characterize a variety of resins and to determine anticipated resin demand. Chemical treatment studies evaluated the use of sodium bisulfite and ferrous sulfate to reduce hexavalent chromium and allow trivalent chromium to be precipitated as chromium hydroxide. Chemical demand was determined in order to present a basis for operating costs. Results indicated that chemical treatment was more effective than anion exchange for the concurrent removal of hexavalent and trivalent chromium. While anion exchange successfully removed hexavalent chromium to the established limit, the process was not effective for removing cationic trivalent chromium. Following installation, a one month field performance evaluation was conducted to confirm laboratory data and to balance maximum chromium removal with minimum chemical and energy costs.
 

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