Projects in the Environmental Protection and Ecological Restoration thrust include the systems integration projects Restoring the Surface Erosion Resistance of Disturbed Soil Sites (via organic matter decomposition and stabilized soil aggregates), Development of a Doubly Cyclic Push-Pull Scheme, the development of Microbially Enhanced Permeable Reactive Barriers, and Restoring the Microbial Crust (in desert soils). Enabling technology projects under this thrust include Electro-Kinetic Subsurface Transport for Mineral Precipitation, and Design and Construction of a Rainfall Simulator. The development of a Doubly Cyclic Push-Pull Scheme seeks to enhance uniform delivery of microbes and nutrients in the subsurface, overcoming geologic heterogeneity. Electro-kinetics employ coupled flows of ions and fluids subject to an electrical potential field to facilitate subsurface transport, even in soils with low hydraulic conductivity. Electro-kinetics can also raise the pH of the pore water, thereby facilitating precipitation. The Permeable Reactive Barrier project will examine the potential for microbially enhancing zeolites to more efficiently remove arsenic and selenium oxyanions from groundwater.
Projects under other thrusts that are related to this thrust include: Biostimulation for Biocementation and Biofilm Development (biostimulation has environmental applications), Engineering Applications of EICP (carbonate precipitation can be used for erosion control and to sequester radionuclides migrating in groundwater), and Carbon Cycle Restoration in Mine Tailings (an ecological restoration technique).