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AutoPilotTest deployment at a field site in Arizona. The self-contained AutoPilotTest unit, with multiple sediment columns for testing remediation feasibility, is being lowered into a well. The device operates autonomously and is powered by solar panels and battery arrays, visible at left.
Schematic of the AutoPilotTest demonstrating the core components of the system. Groundwater is drawn into the unit by solar powered pumps (green) and remediation amendments are added by the injection module (orange) and passed through the sediment columns in the array. Effluent is collected in the reservoir (blue) which is retrieved along with the column for post-incubation testing for specified analysis to determine the effectiveness of various remediation amendments.

The AutoPilotTest uses in situ (in-well) flow-through sediment column microcosms as an alternative to conventional field pilot testing. Developed under the direction of Rolf Halden, Ph.D., P.E., professor of engineering and director of the Center for Environmental Security at ASU's Biodesign Institute, the AutoPilotTest has been independently validated by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ER-200914), a U.S. Department of Defense environmental research program. The AutoPilotTest is a "pilot test in a box" system that allows the simultaneous testing of multiple remediation technologies under field conditions. The self-contained, solar-powered device can be placed into an existing, or newly installed monitoring well, thereby making the technology sustainable and compatible with deployment at remote locations.

By using the AutoPilotTest, remediation practitioners gain greater confidence in a remediation technology's performance under ambient conditions, and the costs for implementing full-scale systems. The AutoPilotTest avoids risks associated with adding amendments directly to groundwater as remedial amendments are contained within the unit; an added benefit being injection permits are not typically required. Finally, the AutoPilotTest is more cost effective than pilot tests by allowing testing of more remedial options and providing key design information required for implementation of the selected remediation technology.

Through the agreement with ISW, SiREM provides its experience as a leader in remediation treatability studies in the deployment of a novel solution developed by a leading university laboratory dedicated to use-inspired bioscience research. SiREM Managing Director Peter Dollar said that the AutoPilotTest is a natural progression for the lab's service line, enabling SiREM to now offer high-quality in situ testing options in addition to bench-scale studies.

"With our extensive laboratory microcosm and column study experience, we feel the AutoPilotTest provides our clients with yet another viable option for testing their remediation options," Dollar said. "We anticipate that the remediation community will be quick to embrace this new tool for efficient screening of remediation technologies."

SiREM is a global provider of advanced products and services to the bioremediation industry, including bioaugmentation, treatability studies, and genetic testing services.