Brine spills and legacy brine ponds are negatively impacting the production of cropland, and in some cases, leaving the soil completely infertile. Through innovative research methods, contaminated soils can be remediated faster at a reduced cost, while decreasing the amount of material being disposed in landfills.

Brine impacted sites are characterized using drone imagery, vegetation mapping, and analyzing electrical conductivity and chlorides in soils. Progressive in-situ remediation techniques can vastly reduce the amount of impacted soils being disposed in landfills. The soil is remediated using hydrological influences to mobilize salts within the soil and using drainage systems to collect the impacted water for disposal. To prevent wicking and recontamination of soils, a 6-inch gravel capillary break should be installed approximately three feet below grade surface.

Brine impacted soils can be returned to productive farmland within months compared to current in-situ remediation techniques that can take up to ten years. These new techniques can reduce the costs of remediation by decreasing the testing, transportation, and disposal of impacted soils.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
Jonathan Ellingson
Sr. Geologist/Office Mgr/Principal
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
West Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Leif Schonteich, Terracon Consultants, Inc., West Fargo, ND
Jacquelien Finck, Terracon Consultants, Inc., West Fargo, ND
Sean Gordon, Terracon Consultants, Inc., West Fargo, ND
Sean Ternes, Terracon Consultants, Inc., West Fargo, ND