Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Tetrachloroethylene--Environmental aspects; Groundwater--Quality--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Water--Pollution--Iowa--Cedar Falls--Point source identification;


Perchloroethylene (PCE), is a colorless, nonflammable, and relatively insoluble chlorinated solvent once widely used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing operations. Because of its past widespread use, poor solvent management practices, and environmental persistence, PCE is a common contaminant found in groundwater supplies. Potential health concerns include liver problems and increased cancer risk.

This research paper presents the findings of an effort to better characterize the spatial, temporal, and transport attributes of a PCE groundwater plume that exists within the Devonian aquifer underlying the University of Northern Iowa campus and the surrounding area in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Findings reveal the plume underlies the eastern portion of UNI’s campus, is hydraulically influenced by the operation of UNI’s cooling-water wells, and trace amounts of PCE are found in cooling water discharged into the Southwest branch of Dry Run Creek by UNI. Findings also indicate the direction of groundwater flow within the study area is quite different from flow directions estimated in a United States Geological Survey (2002) study. Furthermore, the operation of UNI’s well field provides a degree of hydraulic protection for a nearby municipal drinking water well. Finally, one former drycleaning operation is implicated as the most probable known point source because of its spatial position relative to groundwater flow and aquifer susceptibility.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

David May

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 37 pages : color illustrations, color maps)



File Format