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Contaminants in freezing ground and associated ecosystems: key issues at the beginning of the new millennium

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2003

Ian Snape
Affiliation:
Human Impacts Research, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, 7050 Tasmania, Australia
Martin J. Riddle
Affiliation:
Human Impacts Research, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, 7050 Tasmania, Australia
Dennis M. Filler
Affiliation:
NORTECH Environmental & Engineering Consultants, 2400 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
Peter J. Williams
Affiliation:
Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER

Abstract

The ways by which contaminants in freezing ground disperse and interact with associated ecosystems is a new and challenging field of applied research that is crucial to effective assessment, monitoring, and remediation in cold regions. Three key issues have been identified as needing urgent research and development. The first concerns the development and application of meaningful environmental guidelines for cold regions. This usually means that contaminants in freezing ground per se need to be considered in their broadest context by also addressing associated ecosystems, such as the receiving marine environment. The second issue concerns developing best practice for bioremediation of seasonally frozen soils. Of particular concern are the risks, benefits, and costs of using so-called bioproducts, which may not offer substantial improvements over biostimulation of indigenous cold-adapted organisms. The third issue concerns the need for assessment and monitoring protocols and cost-effective analytical tools. In this respect the potential use of field portable instruments deserves careful consideration and on-site testing. Taken together, development of these issues during the coming years will be crucial if the science behind managing contaminants in freezing ground is to catch up with the knowledge that underpins the remediation industry elsewhere.

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Articles
Copyright
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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