Nano zerovalent iron (nZVI) is a promising remediation technology utilizing in situ chemical reduction (ISCR) to clean up contaminated groundwater at hazardous waste sites. The small particle size and large surface area of nZVI result in high reactivity and rapid destruction of contaminants. Over the past 20 years, a great deal of research has advanced the nZVI technology from bench-scale tests to field-scale applications. However, to date, the overall number of well-characterized nZVI field deployments is still small compared to other alternative remedies that are more widely applied. Apart from the relatively high material cost of nZVI and questions regarding possible nanotoxicological side effects, one of the major obstacles to the widespread utilization of nZVI in the field is its short persistence in the environment due to natural reductant demand (NRD). The NRD for nZVI is predominantly due to reduction of water, but other reactions with naturally present oxidants (e.g., oxygen) occur, resulting in situ conditions that are reducing (high in ferrous iron phases and H2) but with little or no Fe(0). This article reviews the main biogeochemical processes that determine the selectivity and longevity of nZVI, summarizes data from prior (laboratory and field) studies on the longevity of various common types of nZVI, and describes modifications of nZVI that could improve its selectivity and longevity for full-scale applications of ISCR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal