Identification of contaminant transport pathways beneath industrial sites

R. J. Lunn, A. Vickery, B. Hobbs, B. Ngwenya

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Site investigation is generally described by a number of source-pathway-target scenarios in which the sources of contamination on a site (e.g. buried waste) the transport pathways (e.g. groundwater) and the targets (e.g. nearby water bodies) are all identified. Typical commercial site investigation focuses almost exclusively on identifying contaminant sources. The only information to characterise potential subsurface pathways is that derived from a few boreholes and temporary piezometers. Yet an understanding of transport pathways both on and off site contributes substantially to any risk assessment procedure and also improves confidence in locating existing contaminant pools that may already have migrated from the source. In this research, a combination of geophysical surveys, laboratory techniques and groundwater modelling are successfully employed to identify potential transport pathways. The results of these investigations have led to a changed understanding of both the contaminant source distribution and the transport pathway characterisation beneath two former oil distribution sites in the Granton district of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-299
    Number of pages13
    JournalLand Contamination and Reclamation
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Contaminant
    • Geophysics
    • Groundwater
    • Hydrogeology
    • Non-invasive surveys
    • Resistivity soil conductivity
    • Site investigation
    • Transport pathways


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