Contaminated Land and Groundwater (CI9-GEO-34)

Module aims

  • Understand the problems associated with contaminated land that have arisen from the unmanaged release of pollutants into the environment.
  • Gain a detailed understanding of the physical processes governing the fate and transport of organic and inorganic pollutants in the subsurface, and how these can be represented using mathematical models.
  • Learn methods for good practice in data collection for site characterisation.
  • Develop remediation options conditioned risk assessment techniques in order to ensure a rational approach to site assessment and clean up, subject to environmental and economic constraints

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the regulatory framework governing contaminated land assessment and its remediation.
  • Understand the processes that govern the fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface and how these can be understood and simulated using mathematical models.
  • Apply physical principles and models to understand the source, movement, fate and environmental impact of contaminants and how these can be evaluated in terms of risk.
  • Use economic principles in remediation decision making and in the choice of remediation technologies.

Module syllabus

  • Students undertaking the course are assumed to be familiar with the basics of hydrogeology, particularly groundwater flow (incl. head, Darcy’s law, permeability, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, groundwater monitoring and interpretation of head data). 

Week No.




Introduction & Aqueous Phase Mass transport

Dr A. Butler


Regulatory context

Dr Hugh Potter


Mass Transport (multiphase)

Dr A. Butler


Risk Assessment

Dr A. Butler


Site Evaluation

Adrian Shields


Site Remediation

Adrian Shields


Remediation Economics

Dr A Butler


Remediation Design Exercise

Adrian Shields


Client’s Perspective

Matthew Pearce

Teaching methods

Weekly lectures by a variety of speakers from both academia and industry and a class design practical.


Assessment of the module is by examination only.

Reading list


Module leaders

Dr Adrian Butler