Vertical Barriers for Land Contamination Containment: A Review.
Soil pollution is one of the major threats to the environment and jeopardizes the provision of key soil ecosystem services. Vertical barriers, including slurry trench walls and walls constructed with soil mix technology, have been employed for decades to control groundwater flow and subsurface contaminant transport. This paper comprehensively reviewed and assessed the typical materials and mechanical and permeability properties of soil-bentonite, cement-bentonite and soil mix barriers, with the values of mix design and engineering properties summarized and compared. In addition, the damage and durability of barrier materials under mechanical, chemical, and environmental stresses were discussed. A number of landmark remediation projects were documented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the use of barrier systems. Recent research about crack-resistant and self-healing barrier materials incorporating polymers and minerals at Cambridge University and performance monitoring techniques were analyzed. Future work should focus on two main areas: the use of geophysical methods for non-destructive monitoring and the optimization of resilient barrier materials.