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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Solar Power Used to Pump Water through GAC Systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Developed in the 1950s as a research facility, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300 covers approximately 11-square miles and is operated by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The lab was primarily used as a high-explosives and materials testing site in support of nuclear weapons research. As a result of various on-site activities, including spills, leaking pipes, and leaching underground landfills and pits, the groundwater became contaminated with solvents, VOCS, tritium, uranium-238, highly explosive compounds, nitrate and perchlorate.

Consequently, a groundwater Pump & Treat system was put into place to treat the contaminated groundwater at four locations. Specifically, 4 solar-powered pumps with granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment were installed between the years of 1999 and 2005. The low-flow systems pump groundwater at about 5 gallons per minute from depths of 75-100 feet and each system has a capacity of 800 watts (for a total of 3.2kW). Furthermore, the system is equipped with batteries to store excess power allows operation during non-daylight hours which offset the need to build new roads and transmission lines to the electric grid. The cost for each system was approximately $2,000.

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