Novel, In-situ NAPL Modification Technique for Persistent Source Zone Control and Remediation

Friday, 19 December 2014
Douglas Joseph Mateas1, Geoffrey R Tick1 and Kenneth C Carroll2, (1)University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States, (2)New Mexico State University Main Campus, Las Cruces, NM, United States
Non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs), such as fuels and solvents, are a major cause of groundwater and soil contamination. This environmental issue has led to concerted efforts to remediate subsurface systems impacted by NAPL pollution, but unfortunately, few of these remediation techniques have succeeded in lowering target contaminant levels below regulatory thresholds. To overcome these limitations, a novel, in-situ source remediation method was tested in the laboratory using equilibrium batch tests and two-dimensional flow cell experiments. The goal of this remediation method was to reduce the aqueous solubility, mass flux, and mass discharge of the target NAPL by the in-situ creation of a NAPL mixture source zone. Predetermined volumes of insoluble n-hexadecane or vegetable oil (“benign” NAPL) were injected into a trichloroethene or toluene (“toxic” NAPL) source zone through a simulated well within the flow cell to form a NAPL mixture. Initial NAPL-aqueous phase batch tests were conducted prior to the flow cell experiments to evaluate the effects of various NAPL mixture ratios on equilibrium aqueous-phase concentrations, and thus, to design optimal benign NAPL injection volumes for the flow cell experiments. Overall, this study indicated that the delivery of benign NAPL into the target, toxic NAPL source zone was effective in significantly reducing contaminant aqueous-phase concentration, mass flux, and mass discharge at intermediate scales. Variations in remediation performance did occur among the various predetermined injection volumes of benign NAPL and the target, toxic NAPL but were consistent to trends observed in batch tests. This novel remediation method may be feasible at larger scales, such as pilot field-scale studies, and may be a cost-effective solution to efficiently mitigate environmental pollution, attain regulatory compliance, and expedite site closure.