Graduate Project

Use of GIS to determine effectiveness of natural attenuation

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  • Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant (LAAP), located near Shreveport, Louisiana, is a government-owned contractor-operated plant. Its purpose is to manufacture, load and assemble ammunition items. Area P has been used over the past 40 years to dump explosive-laden wastewater into 16 unlined lagoons. In 1989 LAAP was placed on the National Priorities List because of the contamination caused by the wastewater and its contribution to groundwater pollution. Natural attenuation, a remediation technique based on in-situe chemical degradation, has been tested as a potential cleanup technique at LAAP. Quarterly sampling of groundwater, referred to as sampling rounds, from 30 wells were conducted over a period of 3 years. This information has been assembled in QuattroPro spreadsheets. Because of the overwhelming amount of data, however, the data are no longer easily manipulated and displayed. A GIS (geographic information system) was needed to provide the interactive framework required to visualize the large amounts of data and to identify areas where natural attenuation has been effective. Each well location with its the accompanying chemical data was entered into the GIS. Individual themes were created on the chemicals so that they could be overlain or viewed as separate layers. The GIS allowed the visualization of chemical concentration in the area. GIS was used to show that in the area around Area P, the concentrations were increasing in a few wells in the northwest part of the site and decreasing elsewhere.
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