A system for remediating groundwater contaminated with halogenated solvents, certain metals and other inorganic species based on catalytic reduction reactions within reactive well bores. The groundwater treatment uses dissolved hydrogen as a reducing agent in the presence of a metal catalyst, such a palladium, to reduce halogenated solvents (as well as other substituted organic compounds) to harmless species (e.g., ethane or methane) and immobilize certain metals to low valence states. The reactive wells function by removing water from a contaminated water-bearing zone, treating contaminants with a well bore using catalytic reduction, and then reinjecting the treated effluent into an adjacent water-bearing zone. This system offers the advantages of a compact design with a minimal surface footprint (surface facilities) and the destruction of a broad suite of contaminants without generating secondary waste streams.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.