Patent Awarded for Novel Method Capturing Dissolved Solids in Groundwater

Wicking well method in action
The wicking well method capturing dissolved solids from water

An HDR-developed remediation method that removes and reclaims dissolved solids from groundwater was awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The method, which benefits both power and industrial entities, has the potential to be cost effective and more efficient than traditional options and may offset implementation costs with resource recovery.

Using the wicking well concept developed by HDR’s Shane McDonald, the method targets dissolved metals and other ionic elements such as arsenic, boron, lithium and selenium, by capturing them in a capillary media as the groundwater evaporates. Dissolved solids and other contaminants are removed, protecting down-gradient water users and the environment, and concentrated on the media where useful resources can be recovered and sold. 

“With this method now under patent, I’m excited to further develop the process in a real-world setting,” said McDonald, who was selected to work on the concept through HDR’s Fellowship applied-research program. “The wicking well could provide a cost savings for a lot of our power and industrial clients, many of which face cost and efficiency challenges remediating dissolved solids in groundwater.”

New features developed during lab-scale testing were submitted to the USPTO as well and are under review as potential additions to the patent or patents of their own. HDR is now exploring real-world applications for the wicking well.

About HDR
For over a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans more than 12,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.

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