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Hydraulic containment of groundwater contamination is an active remedial alternative accomplished through ground water withdrawal and treatment within the known area of contamination (contaminant plume). Containment treatments are often performed to prevent, or significantly reduce, the migration of contaminants in soils or ground water.

Hydraulic containment is often performed when dealing with groundwater contamination and relies on pumping the contaminated groundwater to the surface using a series of extraction wells, treating it at the surface to remove the contaminants, and then either reinjecting the water underground or disposing of it off site. According to the type and extent of contamination, contaminated water can be treated by different physical, chemical or biological methods usually applied in waste water treatment facilities.

Hydraulic containment systems are used: a) to control the movement of contaminated ground water, preventing the continued expansion of the contaminated zone; b) to reduce the dissolved contaminant concentrations in ground water sufficiently that the aquifer meets the cleanup goals. Although hydraulic containment and cleanup can represent separate objectives, more typically, remediation efforts are undertaken to achieve a combination of both.

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