Permeable Reactive Barriers

Team Background:

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 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, was a comprehensive resource that incorporated 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 has not been amended since publication. Some content may be out of date and may no longer apply.