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Rebecca McWatters
Postdoctoral Fellow, GeoEngineering Centre at Queen’s-RMC,
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

Supervised by R. Kerry Rowe
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering
Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada

R. McWatters is conducting research into the design, construction and monitoring of experimental containment areas (biopiles) used for the treatment of hydrocarbon contaminated soil at Australia’s Casey Station in Antarctica. This involves remediation of approximately 600m3 of soil contaminated by Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) diesel, ATK (aviation fuel) and other hydrocarbons.  An aeration system within the biopile is used to extract hydrocarbons, while nutrient addition is added to enhance hydrocarbon degradation in the cold region environment. Research will be focused on the long-term performance of geosynthetics used in containment design to impede advective and diffusive contaminant migration (total hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds). Geosynthetics include HDPE geomembranes, geocomposite clay liners (GCLs) and geotextiles. Contaminant migration through the barrier system will be monitored in the field using a system of monitoring pipes and sample extraction areas.  Samples of the geomembranes, GCls and geotextiles will be exhumed periodically to study changes in physical and diffusive properties with age and exposure to freeze-thaw conditions and cold region environments. This project is a collaboration between the Australian Antarctic Division of Kingston, Tasmania, Australia, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

 

 

 


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