How Effective is a Remediation System at a Regional Landfill?

Kevin Theissen

University of St. Thomas

Photo of landfill site

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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

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This page first made public: Mar 23, 2011


In this activity, students begin exploring the effectiveness of a remediation system installed at a closed landfill system. Students learn the importance of redox chemistry in a real-world context and build field sampling skills.

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This exercise is used in an undergraduate course on environmental geochemistry.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The following are useful, but not essential:
A lecture on redox chemistry
Proper water sampling techniques (especially if later trace metal analysis is a goal)

How the activity is situated in the course

This exercise is the first part of a sequence of exercises exploring the geochemistry of the closed landfill. After the field component of the exercise, students also explore this problem using GIS software and they work with lab data on the water samples they have collected.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Understanding redox reactions and the factors that influence the behavior of contaminants in the surface environment.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Geochemical data analysis and preliminary interpretation

Other skills goals for this activity

Operating field analytical equipment, properly collecting water and sediment samples, working together

Description of the activity/assignment

Student Handout for Landfill Remediation Lab (Acrobat (PDF) 391kB Mar23 11)

Determining whether students have met the goals

In this exercise students are evaluated on the quality of their written responses to a set of discussion questions and on their contribution to field work.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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