A chemical barrier is formed by injecting a suspension of solid particles or colloids into the subsurface. First, a stable colloid suspension is made including a surfactant and a non-Newtonian fluid. This stable colloid suspension is characterized by colloid concentration, colloid size, colloid material, solution ionic strength, and chemical composition. A second step involves injecting the optimized stable colloid suspension at a sufficiently high flow rate to move the colloids through the subsurface sediment, but not at such a high rate so as to induce resuspending indigenous soil particles in the aquifer. While injecting the stable colloid suspension, a withdrawal well may be used to draw the injected colloids in a direction perpendicular to the flow path of a contaminant plume. The withdrawal well, may then be used as an injection well, and a third well, in line with the first two wells, may then be used as a withdrawal well, thereby increasing the length of the colloid barrier. This process would continue until emplacement of the colloid barrier is complete.