Non-pumping reactive wells filled with mixing nano and micro zero-valent iron for nitrate removal from groundwater: Vertical, horizontal, and slanted wells

Seiyed Hosseini, Tiziana Tosco, Behzad Ataie-Ashtiani, Craig Simmons

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Non-pumping reactive wells (NPRWs) filled by zero-valent iron (ZVI) can be utilized for the remediation of groundwater contamination of deep aquifers. The efficiency of NPRWs mainly depends on the hydraulic contact time (HCT) of the pollutant with the reactive materials, the extent of the well capture zone (W cz ), and the relative hydraulic conductivity of aquifer and reactive material (K r ). We investigated nitrate removal from groundwater using NPRWs filled by ZVI (in nano and micro scales) and examined the effect of NPRWs orientations (i.e. vertical, slanted, and horizontal) on HCT and W cz . The dependence of HCT on W cz for different K r values was derived theoretically for a homogeneous and isotropic aquifer, and verified using particle tracking simulations performed using the semi-analytical particle tracking and pathlines model (PMPATH). Nine batch experiments were then performed to investigate the impact of mixed nano-ZVI, NZVI (0 to 2 g l −1 ) and micro-ZVI, MZVI (0 to 4 g l −1 ) on the nitrate removal rate (with initial NO 3 =132 mg l −1 ). The NPRWs system was tested in a bench-scale sand medium (60 cm length × 40 cm width × 25 cm height) for three orientations of NPRWs (vertical, horizontal, and slanted with inclination angle of 45°). A mixture of nano/micro ZVI, was used, applying constant conditions of pore water velocity (0.024 mm s −1 ) and initial nitrate concentration (128 mg l −1 ) for five pore volumes. The results of the batch tests showed that mixing nano and micro Fe 0 outperforms these individual materials in nitrate removal rates. The final products of nitrate degradation in both batch and bench-scale experiments were NO 2 , NH 4 + , and N 2 (gas). The results of sand-box experiments indicated that the slanted NPRWs have a higher nitrate reduction rate (57%) in comparison with vertical (38%) and horizontal (41%) configurations. The results also demonstrated that three factors have pivotal roles in expected HCT and W cz , namely the contrast between the hydraulic conductivity of aquifer and reactive materials within the wells, the mass of Fe 0 in the NPRWs, and the orientation of NPRWs adopted. A trade-off between these factors should be considered to increase the efficiency of remediation using the NPRWs system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-64
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Capture zone of well
  • Groundwater remediation
  • Nano and micro zero-valent iron
  • Nitrate reduction
  • Non-pumping reactive wells
  • Slanted well


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