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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5574M Groundwater Pollution and Contaminated Land

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr. Xiaohui Chen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

CIVE5575MGroundwater Pollution and Contaminated Land

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module is about engineering responses to complex groundwater and soil pollution. The module has a particular focus on appropriate understanding of interactions between soils/groundwater/pollutants. It will also cover the link between engineering, earth science, environmental management and sustainable development.


This module aims to equip students with state-of-the-art information and knowledge relating to the effective treatment of groundwater pollution and contaminated lands.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will:
1. A comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles in groundwater pollution and contaminated land, including hydrogeology, geochemistry and mineralogy.
2. A critical awareness of groundwater pollution and contaminated land across the world, especially in many developing countries, informed by the forefront of the specialization. Understanding the source of pollution to groundwater and soils, and significance and seriousness of groundwater pollution and contaminated land.
3. Understanding of concepts relevant to groundwater pollution and contaminated land, and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively, including in engineering projects within the field.
4. Ability both to apply groundwater pollution modelling analysis for solving complex problem in engineering and to assess their limitations. Ability to use the fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies in soils/groundwater restoration. Ability to collect and analyse research data and use appropriate engineering tools to tackle new scenario of pollutions.
5. Knowledge, understanding and skills to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of this on the design and where appropriate, use theoretical and modelling (e.g. using PHREEQC) research to mitigate deficiencies.
6. Awareness of the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct in groundwater pollution and contaminated land. Awareness that engineering activities should promote sustainable development (especially for water and soils) and ability to apply quantitative techniques (e.g. numerical modelling) where appropriate.
7. Advanced level knowledge and understanding of a wide range of engineering materials (e.g. cement or soils) and components (minerals, e.g. Quartz or K-feldspar), and understand the complexity of chemical transport within such porous media. A thorough understanding of current practice, especially in modelling, and its limitations, and some appreciation of likely new developments (e.g. coupled modelling).
8. Apply their skills in problem-solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others, and the effective use of general IT facilities. Be able to develop use/develop restoration methods for a real case study, and have an awareness of state-of-the-art knowledge and knowledge sources relating to contaminated lands, nuclear waste disposal and sustainable development.

Skills outcomes
Pollution and contaminated lands modelling and experiment.


Definition of minerals, soils, groundwater and pollutants; typical conditions in groundwater pollution; assessing the public health risks associated with groundwater pollution and soil pollution; Effective delivery approaches for restoration; modelling of groundwater pollution.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning12.002.00
Group learning15.005.00
Private study hours111.00
Total Contact hours39.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The assignment for this course is to assess a case study of a real-groundwater/soil pollution case or sludge contaminated land, and approrpriate engineering responses. The assignment will be carried out in two parts, the first part in a group to facilitate group work and collective decision making, and the second part as an individual producing a report and set of recommendations. This will require extensive criticial background reading on the specific case study as well as the general technical literature.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored during the delivery of the module by the use of example sheets, which they are encouraged to attempt. Practical ability is monitored both by reviewing the booking sheets completed by the students during the group project sessions and by assessments of their ability to use software during the modelling work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer ExerciseUsing software to develop a pollution transport model60.00
ProjectLiterature and Design: Develop a method for restoration of contaminated lands40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resubmission of the project report and using software to develop a pollution transport model (100%)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:30:28


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