This study evaluated pilot-scale active caps composed of apatite, organoclay, biopolymers, and sand for the remediation of metal-contaminated sediments. The active caps were constructed in Steel Creek, at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. Monitoring was conducted for 12 months. Effectiveness of the caps was based on an evaluation of contaminant bioavailability, resistance to erosion, and impacts on benthic organisms.
Active caps lowered metal bioavailability in the sediment during the one-year test period. Biopolymers reduced sediment suspension during cap construction, increased the pool of carbon, and lowered the release of metals. This field validation showed that active caps can effectively treat contaminants by changing their speciation, and that caps can be constructed to include more than one type of amendment to achieve multiple goals. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.