The permeable reactive barrier (PRB) is an in situ permeable treatment zone designed to intercept and remediate a contaminant groundwater plume. The PRB provides advantages including that:

  1. it contains a plume while the source is remediated
  2. mass discharge is reduced and monitored natural attenuation may be accelerated
  3. a broad spectrum of contaminants may be treated
  4. it is considered a green and sustainable remediation technology with low energy requirements
  5. it has low operation and maintenance costs, along with the potential for long-term effectiveness
  6. the system is unobtrusive once installed

As the technology has evolved since the mid-1990s, much has been learned from the installation and operation of more than 200 PRB systems. As a result, the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB): Technology Update Team produced the Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document:  Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRB): Technology Update (PRB-5, June 2011) to provide an update on information pertinent to the design and use of PRBs for treating contaminants in groundwater. This guidance document, the fifth published by ITRC since 1999 to investigate the development of PRBs as an emerging remediation technology, is a comprehensive resource that incorporates elements from previous documents and provides updates on additional types of reactive media, contaminants that can be treated, PRB longevity issues, and new construction/installation approaches and technologies.

This document provides the user with:

  • a comprehensive technical and regulatory resource when considering PRBs as a remedial strategy for contaminated groundwater
  • tools to streamline/expedite regulatory review process
  • lessons learned from 15 years of experience with PRB systems
  • easily understood and accessible information on the applicability of PRBs at a given site
  • regulatory considerations for selection, installation, and monitoring of PRB systems
  • design information for the application of PRBs
  • PRB case examples for a broad range of contaminants and geologic settings
  • access to cost information related to PRB design, installation, and monitoring
  • extensive list of contacts and references to access additional information

Request for Action: ITRC requests that you and your organization use the Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRB): Technology Update (PRB-5, June 2011) and associated FREE Internet-based training course when considering PRBs as a remedial strategy. Please impart this information to others that you interact with on your sites.