Organic contaminant hydrogeology and remediation

The pollution of groundwater by organic contaminants remains a key driver of exceedingly expensive contaminated land and groundwater investigation and remediation efforts.

This 20-credit module will provide you with the organic contaminant hydrogeological knowledge base that will underpin potential future professional activity in the field of groundwater organic contaminant remediation.

Topics you will study include:

  • Contaminant source terms
  • Contextual toxicology and environmental standards and legislation
  • Organic contaminant phase partitioning to air, water and solids
  • Conceptual models of contaminant migration
  • Processes of sorption, chemical reaction and biodegradation
  • NAPL multi-phase flow.

These will be illustrated throughout by contaminant case studies and your learning will be underpinned by set calculation problem sheets.

The topics covered in the module provide the theoretical basis for more industry applied/research-based subsequent coverage of the following (with teaching supported by industry experts):

  • Contaminated land/groundwater legislative frameworks
  • Groundwater risk assessment
  • Site investigation and groundwater monitoring practice
  • Groundwater remediation options.

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Show advanced understanding of processes controlling organic contaminant fate and transport in groundwater systems - this understanding should be from both organic/physical chemistry and hydrogeology standpoints.
  • Demonstrate a quantified understanding of topics and undertake appropriate hand calculations.
  • Demonstrate theoretical and applied understanding of groundwater - contaminated land remediation implementation, including accompanying aspects of site investigation/monitoring, risk assessment and regulatory contexts.
  • Demonstrate research-level literature awareness of the specialised topics selected for the coursework projects.


  • Exam
  • Coursework