Launch Complex 39B
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Launch Complex 39B (LC39B) is a NASA launch site located at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

LC39B was constructed in the mid-1960s for the Apollo Space Program, was retrofitted in the mid-1970s to support the space shuttle operations, and is being reconfigured by NASA for future Orion missions.  RCRA Facility Investigations and supplemental assessment activities by Geosyntec identified dissolved chlorinated volatile organic compound (CVOC) groundwater impacts encompassing an area of approximately 27 acres.  Following the completion of a feasibility study, a combination of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and air sparging was selected to address the groundwater impacts.  The air sparge design prepared and implemented in 2017 targeted an approximate 9-acre area where CVOC concentrations were not anticipated to decrease via natural attenuation in a timely manner.  Design objectives included: (i) treating the CVOC impacted areas to facilitate a clear transition to long-term monitoring (exit strategy); (ii) completing the remediation in a short time frame (less than 5 years) due to NASA's proposed launch schedule; and (iii) reducing the amount of time needed to complete routine operation and maintenance (O&M) activities.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec's 2017 design for the air sparge system following the completion of the feasibility study included:

  • 279 air sparge wells screened across various depth intervals, with a maximum depth of approximately 52 feet below land surface, representing the largest know air sparge system operating in the eastern United States;
  • 32 manifold enclosures for air distribution to the air sparge wells, with metering equipment to allow for the efficient adjustment and optimization of air flow to individual air sparge wells;
  • an air compressor system with a 100-horse power oil-injected rotary screw compressor to provide air to the subsurface in a pulsed/zone configuration and a control panel to allow for on-site and remote adjustments to system operations; and
  • a network of monitoring wells within the treatment area to assess remedy performance over time.

Upon completion of the design, Geosyntec procured the air compressor system, oversaw the installation of all components of the air sparge system, and successfully completed system startup activities in mid 2017.  Monthly O&Ms, quarterly performance monitoring, and routine optimization activities have been conducted following startup.

Notable Accomplishments

The air sparge system installation, which included the completion of over 3 miles of trenching and the installation of over 5 miles of piping, was completed with no safety incidents.  During air sparge well installation, soil cores were collected from the bottom 10 feet of each air sparge well location to identify the depth of low-permeability soils, which allowed for the refinement of individual air sparge well depths to maximize air distribution.  Within 2 years following air-sparge system startup all 37 performance monitoring wells achieved corrective action objectives, representing mass removal of >98% from the 9-acre treatment area.  Based upon an initial evaluation of rebound through high-resolution groundwater sampling, it is unlikely that rebound will occur during post active remediation monitoring. Geosyntec's work on this project was recognized with a 2020 Outstanding Groundwater Remediation Award from the National Groundwater Association.

For more information about our work on this project: NASA's Launch Complex 39B

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Project Summary

  • Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
  • Client: NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Project Practice Areas: Contaminated Sites
  • Type of Facility: Federal Facility
  • Services Provided: Feasibility study and turn-key remedial design, Turn-key remedial system installation, Remedial system operation and maintenance, Remedial system optimization
  • Type of Work: Remediation
  • Governing Regulation: RCRA/NASA