PROTECT Project 5 Researchers Visit West Virginia’s Karst Caves

From Left to Right: Kimberly Hetrick, Dr. Dorothy Vesper and Dr. Lily Rajic

From Left to Right: Kimberly Hetrick, Dr. Dorothy Vesper and Dr. Lily Rajic

From June 1st through 4th, 2017, PROTECT Project 5 team members Dr. Dorothy Vesper, Dr. Lily Rajic, Kimberly Hetrick, and Emily Bausher visited karst caves in Monroe County, West Virginia. For this trip, the team had goals of collecting and characterizing sediment samples as well as investigating the potential impacts of suspended sediments on electrochemical processes for groundwater remediation, the technology developed by PROTECT Project 5. The trip was organized by Dr. Vesper and included a colloquium presented by Dr. Rajic at the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University, which focused on accomplishments of the PROTECT Project 5 team on developing electrochemical remediation of groundwater.

The sediments collected by the team are common in karst systems due to direct input through sinkholes and the weathering of the rocks. Depending upon if the sediments are mobile or deposited, the particles can either enhance transport or act as long-term storage locations for sorbed contaminants. The sediment’s presence may also advance or suppress the performance of the remediation through physical and/or chemical processes. Collaborative work on collecting the sediments and studying their impacts on groundwater electrochemical treatment performance will be presented in conferences and symposiums in the 2017-2018 academic year.