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Researchers Work with City to Rehabilitate Contaminated Sites

May 31, 2007

Researchers in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington will assist the City of Arlington in the identification, assessment and remediation of potentially-toxic locations within the city. Most of the locations are the sites of former businesses that sold or used petroleum products and/or hazardous substances; the bare plots are commonly referred to as brownfields.

Two two-year projects are being supported through grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because EPA grants are made to municipalities, the university is acting as a cooperative partner in the projects. One project targets petroleum products, the other hazardous substances. Each project will receive $177,000 in funding.

Dr. Sahadat Hossain, an assistant professor in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, will be the principal investigator in the projects and will be assisted by additional faculty and students in the department. He initiated the projects with the city after acquiring high-resolution resistivity (HHR) equipment through a university research grant to conduct geophysical studies of existing subsurface conditions. HRR is used for enhanced, 2-D and 3-D mapping of lateral and vertical variations in subsurface moisture content, environmental contamination and near-surface geology. HRR can also accurately map ground water flow and identify un-compacted soils and voids around underground pipes.

The City of Arlington’s Community Development and Planning Department selected brownfield sites in the central and east sectors of the city as high-priorities. These areas are considered ripe for redevelopment, given their proximity to the Texas Rangers ballpark and the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. Plans call for initial studies of 15 to 20 sites, narrowing to five or six for those requiring additional testing. Using information gained through these studies, the city will develop specific clean up measures that will encourage and facilitate the establishment of neighborhood amenities and foster employment opportunities.

Dr. Hossain has been working with the City of Arlington to develop brownfields redevelopment programs since 2005. He foresees additional projects with the city and with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, a voluntary association assisting local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development.

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