Geophysical Signitures From Hydrocarbon Contaminated Aquifers

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Mohamad Abbas and Abderrahim Jardani, University of Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan Cedex, France
The task of delineating the contamination plumes as well as studying their impact on the soil and groundwater biogeochemical properties is needed to support the remediation efforts and plans. Geophysical methods including electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), induced polarization (IP), ground penetrating radar (GPR), and self-potential (SP) have been previously used to characterize contaminant plumes and investigate their impact on soil and groundwater properties (Atekwana et al., 2002, 2004; Benson et al., 1997; Campbell et al., 1996; Cassidy et al., 2001; Revil et al., 2003; Werkema et al., 2000). Our objective was to: estimate the hydrocarbon contamination extent in a contaminated site in northern France, and to adverse the effects of the oil spill on the groundwater properties. We aim to find a good combination of non-intrusive and low cost methods which we can use to follow the bio-remediation process, which is planned to proceed next year. We used four geophysical methods including electrical resistivity tomography, IP, GPR, and SP. The geophysical data was compared to geochemical ones obtained from 30 boreholes installed in the site during the geophysical surveys. Our results have shown: low electrical resistivity values; high chargeability values; negative SP anomalies; and attenuated GPR reflections coincident with groundwater contamination. Laboratory and field geochemical measurements have demonstrated increased groundwater electrical conductivity and increased microbial activity associated with hydrocarbon contamination of groundwater. Our study results support the conductive model suggested by studies such as Sauck (2000) and Atekwana et al., (2004), who suggest that biological alterations of hydrocarbon contamination can substantially modify the chemical and physical properties of the subsurface, producing a dramatic shift in the geo-electrical signature from resistive to conductive. The next stage of the research will include time lapse borehole and 3D geophysical measurements coupled to biological and chemical surface phase experiments in order to monitor the bioremediation processes.