Autonomous screening of groundwater remediation technologies in the subsurface using the In Situ Microcosm Array (ISMA)

Tomasz Kalinowski, Kristin McClellan, Thomas A. Bruton, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Erin M. Driver, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The groundwater remediation industry continues to progress towards less expensive, more sustainable in situ remedies. However, in situ treatment requires site-specific performance data that can be difficult or impossible to obtain using conventional laboratory microcosm studies. To improve the representativeness of laboratory scale treatability studies, and aid in remedial technology implementation, we developed the In Situ Microcosm Array (ISMA). This autonomous diagnostic device enables the deployment of 10 flow-through sediment columns within a standard 10-cm groundwater-monitoring well. Suspended at the desired aquifer depth, the fully encapsulated ISMA meters groundwater directly from the aquifer to microcosms containing competing remedial technologies. Field demonstrations of the instrument were performed in two aquifers contaminated, respectively, with trichloroethylene and hexavalent chromium, and with perchlorate. A cost assessment positions ISMA deployment costs within the range of conventional laboratory treatability studies. Results demonstrate the ISMA's utility to perform cost-effective, high-throughput, screenings of multiple intervention strategies in the field, without impacting the subsurface environment examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-675
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Apr 5 2019


  • Field-scale technology
  • Flow-through sediment columns
  • Groundwater remediation
  • Microcosms
  • Treatability study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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