For the first time, a groundwater treatment technology developed at Kennedy Space Center was used to treat subsurface contaminants near one of the center’s buildings, the Reutilization, Recycling and Marketing Facility (RRMF).
Located on Ransom Road just west of Kennedy Parkway, the RRMF was constructed in the late 1960s for the storage and recycling of a variety of equipment and chemicals. Over the course of nine days in November, the center’s Remediation Program injected the Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) into an area of about 2,200 square feet to a depth of 27 feet below ground surface. The target was the chlorinated solvent tetrachloroethene, also known as PERC, which had been historically released into the environment.
Remediation Project Manager Anne Chrest, of Kennedy’s Center Operations Directorate, is leading the cleanup efforts. Workers with Jacobs Engineering Group and CORE Engineering and Construction, Inc. used more than 9,000 gallons of EZVI in the treatment area.
Chrest said seven remedial technologies were evaluated to treat the chlorinated, solvent-affected groundwater at the RRMF, and EZVI was the technology selected.
“The site will be monitored for several years,” Chrest said. “The monitoring data will enable us to follow the groundwater cleanup progress and ensure our cleanup objectives are achieved. Groundwater samples will be collected over time to demonstrate cleanup.”
Invented by Jackie Quinn, a NASA environmental engineer, EZVI currently is one of several available groundwater remediation technologies that can treat chlorinated solvent source material, known as dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). These liquids are denser than water and do not dissolve or mix easily in water.
Co-inventors are Dr. Kathleen Loftin, a NASA analytical chemist, and Drs. Christian Clausen, Cherie Yestrebsky and Debra Reinhart from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
The first field demonstration of EZVI was successfully performed in 2002 at Launch Complex 34 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Program. After that, the injection methods for field-scale deployment became the focus.
Lew Parrish, a senior technology transfer specialist with QinetiQ North America supporting Kennedy’s Technology Transfer Office, said a total of nine licenses have been granted to nine companies and two U.S. patents have been issued for the EZVI technology, making it one of NASA’s most licensed technologies.
“Not coincidentally, one of the EZVI licensees provided the product for the remediation project at the RRMF,” Parrish said. “It was transported to Kennedy in a large tank trailer.”
EZVI won NASA’s Government Invention of the Year and Commercial Invention of the Year awards in 2005. Quinn, Loftin and the group received an Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer in 2006 and were inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame during the 23rd National Space Symposium in 2007.
The team also was recognized as Laureates of the Tech Museum for the global humanitarian impact of the EZVI technology.
EZVI is in use at Port Canaveral, several locations at CCAFS, in 17 U.S. states, France and Japan.