Further description:-  Permeable reactive barriers 

Glossary Entry
A permeable reactive barrier or PRB is an in situ construction that allows groundwater to pass through 
it, but removes or destroys contaminants in the groundwater as it passes through or in the vicinity
of the barrier.

Technology description:


Permeable reactive barriers are chosen depending on the kind of contaminant found in a site. There are:


1)      Sorption barriers which contain filling that remove contaminants from groundwater by physically grabbing the contaminants out of the water matrix and holding them on the barrier surface, with zeolites or activated carbon

2)      Precipitation barriers which contain fillings that react with contaminants in ground water

3)      Degradation barriers which degrade the contaminants into harmless products





Containment Barrier


Technology applicability:


This technology can be applied to any kind of soil when there is a risk of dispersion to uncontaminated soils.


Contaminant Type

Nonhalogenated VOCs

Halogenated VOCs

Nonhalogenated SVOCs

Halogenated SVOCs


Heavy metals






Technology advantages:


v      The major advantage is the treatment of contaminants in place

v      No need for electrical energy supply

v      Barrier technology coupled with other soil remediation technologies could enhance the capacity of cleaning of contaminated sites (treatment train)

v      Low-cost treatment of contaminated water, often occurring at sites with small flow rates.


Technology limitations:


v      Is not a direct technology to treat soils, just treat the water involved in the contaminated site


Technology development status:


Containment barrier is a commercial technology.



(a) Technical:

  • Containment



(b) Application:

  • Evaluation of Subsurface Engineered Barriers at Waste Sites




Andrea Lodolo

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