Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Lindell Ormsbee


Providing access to clean drinking water will continue to be a challenge for civil engineers for generations to come. Since many communities around the world rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water, remediation technologies must be implemented at sites where groundwater contamination exists due to years of mismanagement of hazardous waste. Using nanosized zero-valent metals such as iron and zinc embedded within and on the surface of functionalized (PAA) membrane filters has shown to be an effective dechlorination technique for contaminated groundwater. Introducing a noble metal such as Pd or Ni increases reaction rates by acting a catalyst for the dechlorination reaction.

This study focuses on the treatment of contaminated groundwater at a hazardous waste site in Louisville, Kentucky. Once a chlorinated organic chemical manufacturing plant, the site now operates a treatment system for the contaminated groundwater to prevent migration into the nearby Ohio River. A portable membrane treatment system, built at the University of Kentucky, incorporates this functionalized bimetallic membrane technology for treatment of the groundwater found at the former manufacturing plant. Three bench scale tests were performed with membrane treatment system using DI water spiked with the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE). Results showed that using the functionalized Fe/Pd membranes significant decreased TCE concentrations over time. While further tests should be conducted to verify the results of the preliminary bench-scale tests, the membrane treatment system shows potential for use at the hazardous waste site in Kentucky.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program (NIEHS-SRP) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number P42ES007380.