Nanotechnology-Based Remediation of Groundwater

  • Tannaz PakEmail author
  • Nathaly Lopes Archilha
  • Luiz Fernando de Lima LuzJr.


Groundwater resources in need of cleanup are a worldwide problem. In many cases, industrialization and human activities have introduced contamination to groundwater, rendering it unsuitable for human use. The contaminants are both of organic (e.g., chlorinated solvents) and inorganic (e.g., chromium and arsenic) nature. Conventionally, intrusive methods were used to clean up the contamination source/plume. These include the pump-and-treat method that extracts the contaminated water for surface treatment. Such ex situ methods are less practicable when there is limited access to the contaminated subsurface layer. A more efficient approach will be to plan for in situ remediation of the contaminants which would minimize the need to extract the contamination. This chapter looks into a new technology that uses metal nanoparticles to deliver in situ remediation of chlorinated solvents. We explore this technology from technical, economical, and operational point of view.


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Webpage. Available at:
  3. 3.
    Arnell NW (1999) Climate change and global water resources. Global Environmental Change 9Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Luo T, Young R, Reig P (2015) Aqueduct projected water stress country rankings. Technical Note. Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute. Available online at:
  5. 5.
    Webpage. Available at:
  6. 6.
    Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Summary for Policymakers. Climate change 2013: the physical science basis (2013). Available at:
  7. 7.
    Hansen J, Ruedy R, Sato M, Lo K (2010) Global surface temperature change. Rev Geophys 48:RG4004.
  8. 8.
    Allen MR, Coninck HD, Dube OP, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Jacob D, Jiang K et al. (2018) Technical Summary. In: Masson-Delmotte V, Zhai P, Pörtner HO, Roberts D, Skea J, Shukla PR, Pirani A, Moufouma-Okia W, Péan C, Pidcock R, Connors S, Matthews JBR, Chen Y, Zhou X, Gomis MI, Lonnoy E, Maycock T, Tignor M, Waterfield T (Eds) Global warming of 1.5°C : An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of trengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change p. 27–46Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lieske E, Myers RF (2002) Coral reef fishes: Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Margat J Groundwater around the world: a geographic synopsisGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    United States Environmental Protection Agency Website (2009). Available at:
  12. 12.
    Mandal BK, Suzuki KT (2002) Arsenic round the world: a review. Talanta 58:201–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fu F, Dionysiou DD, Liu H (2014) The use of zero-valent iron for groundwater remediation and wastewater treatment: a review. J Hazard Mater 267:194–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cundy AB, Hopkinson L, Whitby RLD (2008) Use of iron-based technologies in contaminated land and groundwater remediation: a review. Sci Total Environ 400:42–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mueller NC et al (2012) Application of nanoscale zero valent iron (NZVI) for groundwater remediation in Europe. Environ Sci Pollut Res 19:550–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cantrell KJ, Kaplan DI, Wietsma TW (1995) Zero-valent iron for the in situ remediation of selected metals in groundwater. J Hazard Mater 42:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bedient PB, Rifai HS, Newell CJ (1999) Ground water contamination: transport and remediation. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs. Scholar
  18. 18.
    Reddy KR, Cameselle C (2009) Electrochemical remediation technologies for polluted soils, sediments and groundwater. Electrochemical remediation technologies for polluted soils, sediments and groundwater. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey. Scholar
  19. 19.
    Anderson WG (1986) Wettability literature survey- part 1: rock/oil/brine interactions and the effects of core handling on wettability. J Pet Technol 38:1125–1144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rabbani H, Joekar-Niasar V, Pak T, Shokri N (2017) New insights on the complex dynamics of two-phase flow in porous media under intermediate-wet conditions. Sci Rep 7(1):4584.
  21. 21.
    Singh K et al (2017) The role of local instabilities in fluid invasion into permeable media. Sci Rep 7:444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zhao B, MacMinn CW, Juanes R (2016) Wettability control on multiphase flow in patterned microfluidics. Proc Natl Acad Sci 113:10251–10256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Al-Raoush RI (2009) Impact of wettability on pore-scale characteristics of residual nonaqueous phase liquids. Environ Sci Technol 43:4796–4801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Berg S et al (2013) Real-time 3D imaging of Haines jumps in porous media flow. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:3755–3759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pak T, Butler IB, Geiger S, van Dijke MIJ, Sorbie KS (2015) Droplet fragmentation: 3D imaging of a previously unidentified pore-scale process during multiphase flow in porous media. Proc Natl Acad Sci 112:1947–1952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Schnaar G, Brusseau ML (2006) Characterizing pore-scale configuration of organic immiscible liquid in multiphase systems with synchrotron X-ray microtomography. Vadose Zo J 5:641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Singh K et al (2017) Dynamics of snap-off and pore-filling events during two-phase fluid flow in permeable media. Sci Rep 7:5192.
  28. 28.
    Mulligan C, Yong R, Gibbs B (2001) Surfactant-enhanced remediation of contaminated soil: a review. Eng Geol 60:371–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Mulligan CN, Yong RN, Gibbs BF (2001) Remediation technologies for metal-contaminated soils and groundwater: an evaluation. Eng Geol 60:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bennetzen MV, Mogensen K (2014) Novel applications of nanoparticles for future enhanced oil recovery. Int Pet Technol Conf 10–12 December.
  31. 31.
    Al-Anssari S, Barifcani A, Wang S, Maxim L, Iglauer S (2016) Wettability alteration of oil-wet carbonate by silica nanofluid. J Colloid Interface Sci 461:435–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mousavi MA, Hassanajili S, Rahimpour MR (2013) Synthesis of fluorinated nano-silica and its application in wettability alteration near-wellbore region in gas condensate reservoirs. Appl Surf Sci 273:205–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Pak T, Archilha NL, Mantovani IF, Moreira AC, Butler IB (2018) The dynamics of nanoparticle-enhanced fluid displacement in porous media – a pore-scale study. Sci Rep 8:11148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Pak T, Archilha NL, Al-Imari R (2018) Application of nanotechnology in removal of NAPLs from contaminated aquifers: a source clean-up experimental study. Clean Techn Environ Policy 20:427.
  35. 35.
    Hendraningrat L, Li S (2013) A coreflood investigation of nanofluid enhanced oil recovery in low-medium permeability Berea sandstone. Spe 8–10 April.Texas, SPE 164106.
  36. 36.
    Pak T, Archilha NL, Mantovani IF, Moreira AC, Butler IB (2019) An X-ray computed micro-tomography dataset for oil removal from carbonate porous media. Sci Data 6:190004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kim K, Gurol MD (2005) Reaction of nonaqueous phase TCE with permanganate. Environ Sci Technol 39:9303–9308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Yan YE, Schwartz FW (1999) Oxidative degradation and kinetics of chlorinated ethylenes by potassium permanganate. J Contam Hydrol 37:343–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Huang K-C, Hoag GE, Chheda P, Woody BA, Dobbs GM (1999) Kinetic study of oxidation of trichloroethylene by potassium permanganate. Environ Eng Sci 16:265–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Zhai X, Hua I, Rao PSC, Lee LS (2006) Cosolvent-enhanced chemical oxidation of perchloroethylene by potassium permanganate. J Contam Hydrol 82:61–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Schroth MH, Oostrom M, Wietsma TW, Istok JD (2001) In-situ oxidation of trichloroethene by permanganate: effects on porous medium hydraulic properties. J Contam Hydrol 50:79–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Schnarr M et al (1998) Laboratory and controlled field experiments using potassium permanganate to remediate trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene DNAPLs in porous media. J Contam Hydrol 29:205–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Hunkeler D, Aravena R, Parker BL, Cherry JA, Diao X (2003) Monitoring oxidation of chlorinated ethenes by permanganate in groundwater using stable isotopes: laboratory and field studies. Environ Sci Technol 37:798–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Li XD, Schwartz FW (2004) DNAPL remediation with in situ chemical oxidation using potassium permanganate. Part I. mineralogy of Mn oxide and its dissolution in organic acids. J Contam Hydrol 68:39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hughes JB, Beckles DM, Chandra SD, Ward CH (1997) Utilization of bioremediation processes for the treatment of PAH-contaminated sediments. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 18:152–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Aulenta F, Majone M, Tandoi V (2006) Enhanced anaerobic bioremediation of chlorinated solvents: environmental factors influencing microbial activity and their relevance under field conditions. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 81:1463–1474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Efroymson RA, Alexander M (1994) Biodegradation in soil of hydrophobic pollutants in nonaqueous-phase liquids (NAPLs). Environ Toxicol Chem 13:405–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Boopathy R (2000) Factors limiting bioremediation technologies. Bioresour Technol 74:63–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Liu Y, Majetich SA, Tilton RD, Sholl DS, Lowry GV (2005) TCE dechlorination rates, pathways, and efficiency of nanoscale iron particles with different properties. Environ Sci Technol 39:1338. Scholar
  50. 50.
    Yan W, Herzing AA, Kiely CJ, Zhang W (2010) Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI): aspects of the core-shell structure and reactions with inorganic species in water. J Contam Hydrol 118:96–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Tosco T, Petrangeli Papini M, Cruz Viggi C, Sethi R (2014) Nanoscale zerovalent iron particles for groundwater remediation: a review. J Clean Prod 77:10–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sun Y-P, Li X, Cao J, Zhang W, Wang HP (2006) Characterization of zero-valent iron nanoparticles. Adv Colloid Interf Sci 120:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mu Y, Jia F, Ai Z, Zhang L (2017) Iron oxide shell mediated environmental remediation properties of nano zero-valent iron. Environ Sci Nano 4:27–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Martin JE et al (2008) Determination of the oxide layer thickness in core-shell zerovalent iron nanoparticles. Langmuir 24:4329–4334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Crane RA, Scott TB (2012) Nanoscale zero-valent iron: future prospects for an emerging water treatment technology. J Hazard Mater 211:112–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Nurmi JT et al (2004) Characterization and properties of metallic iron nanoparticles: spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and kinetics. Environ Sci Technol 39:1221. Scholar
  57. 57.
    Wang CM et al (2005) Void formation during early stages of passivation: initial oxidation of iron nanoparticles at room temperature. J Appl Phys 98:94308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Li XQ, Zhang WX (2007) Sequestration of metal cations with zerovalent iron nanoparticles – a study with high resolution x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HR-XPS). J Phys Chem C 111:6939–6946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    O’Carroll D, Sleep B, Krol M, Boparai H, Kocur C (2013) Nanoscale zero valent iron and bimetallic particles for contaminated site remediation. Adv Water Resour 51:104–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    El-Temsah YS, Joner EJ (2013) Effects of nano-sized zero-valent iron (nZVI) on DDT degradation in soil and its toxicity to collembola and ostracods. Chemosphere 92:131–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Xue W et al (2018) Performance and toxicity assessment of nanoscale zero valent iron particles in the remediation of contaminated soil: a review. Chemosphere 210:1145–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Wang C-B, Zhang W (1997) Synthesizing nanoscale iron particles for rapid and complete dechlorination of TCE and PCBs. Environ. Sci. Technol. 31(7):2154.
  63. 63.
    Antony J, Qiang Y, Baer DR, Wang C (2006) Synthesis and characterization of stable iron-iron oxide core-shell nanoclusters for environmental applications. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 6:568–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Hoch LB et al (2008) Carbothermal synthesis of carbon-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron particles for the remediation of hexavalent chromium. Environ Sci Technol 42:2600–2605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Jamei MR, Khosravi MR, Anvaripour B (2014) A novel ultrasound assisted method in synthesis of NZVI particles. Ultrason Sonochem 21:226–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Chen S-S, Hsu H-D, Li C-W (2004) A new method to produce nanoscale iron for nitrate removal. J Nanopart Res 6:639–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Crane RA, Scott TB (2012) Nanoscale zero-valent iron: future prospects for an emerging water treatment technology. J Hazard Mater 211–212:112–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Machado S, Pacheco JG, Nouws HPA, Albergaria JT, Delerue-Matos C (2015) Characterization of green zero-valent iron nanoparticles produced with tree leaf extracts. Sci Total Environ 533:76–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Quinn J et al (2005) Field demonstration of DNAPL dehalogenation using emulsified zero-valent iron. Environ Sci Technol 39:1309–1318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Wang W, Zhou M, Jin Z, Li T (2010) Reactivity characteristics of poly(methyl methacrylate) coated nanoscale iron particles for trichloroethylene remediation. J Hazard Mater 173:724–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Zhang N, Fang Z, Zhang R (2017) Comparison of several amendments for in-site remediating chromium-contaminated farmland soil. Water Air Soil Pollut 228Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Phenrat T, Thongboot T, Lowry GV (2016) Electromagnetic induction of Zerovalent Iron (ZVI) powder and Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron (NZVI) particles enhances dechlorination of trichloroethylene in contaminated groundwater and soil: proof of concept. Environ Sci Technol 50:872–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Zhang M, He F, Zhao D, Hao X (2011) Degradation of soil-sorbed trichloroethylene by stabilized zero valent iron nanoparticles: effects of sorption, surfactants, and natural organic matter. Water Res 45:2401–2414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Vítková M, Rákosová S, Michálková Z, Komárek M (2017) Metal(loid)s behaviour in soils amended with nano zero-valent iron as a function of pH and time. J Environ Manag 186:268–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Wang Y, Zhou D, Wang Y, Wang L, Cang L (2012) Automatic pH control system enhances the dechlorination of 2,4,4′-trichlorobiphenyl and extracted PCBs from contaminated soil by nanoscale Fe0and Pd/Fe0. Environ Sci Pollut Res 19:448–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Xue D, Sethi R (2012) Viscoelastic gels of guar and xanthan gum mixtures provide long-term stabilization of iron micro- and nanoparticles. J Nanopart Res 14:1239.
  77. 77.
    Taking nanotechnological remediation processes from lab scale to end user applications for the restoration of a clean environment. Available at:
  78. 78.
    NanoRem Bulletins. Available at:
  79. 79.
  80. 80.
  81. 81.
    Avila L (2012) Remediation of underground water contaminated by organoclorated compounds (pce/tce) through the use of activated charcoal and potassium permanganate. (Federal University of Parana)Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Matheson LJ, Tratyek PG (1994) Reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated methanes by iron metal. Environ Sci Technol 28:2045–2053Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    USEPA (2006) National recommended water quality criteria. Office of water, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tannaz Pak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nathaly Lopes Archilha
    • 2
  • Luiz Fernando de Lima LuzJr.
    • 3
  1. 1.Teesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK
  2. 2.Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) - Brazilian Centre for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM)CampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of ParanaCuritibaBrazil

Personalised recommendations