Physicochemical Approaches for the Remediation of Former Manufactured Gas Plant Tars

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Scott Hauswirth and Cass T Miller, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States
Former manufactured gas plant (FMGP) tars are one of the most challenging non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminants to remediate due to their complex chemical composition, high viscosities, and ability to alter wettability. In this work, we investigate several in situ remediation techniques for the removal of tar from porous media. Batch and column experiments were conducted to test the effectiveness of mobilization, solubilization, and chemical oxidation remediation approaches. Alkaline (NaOH), surfactant (Triton X-100), and polymer (xanthan gum) agents were used in various combinations to reduce tar-water interfacial tension, increase flushing solution viscosity, and increase the solubilities of tar components. Base-activated sodium persulfate was used alone and in combination with surfactant to chemically oxidized tar components. The effectiveness of each method was assessed in terms of both removal of PAHs from the system and reduction of dissolved-phase effluent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations. In column studies, alkaline-polymer (AP) and alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP) solutions efficiently mobilized 81-93% and 95-96% of residual PAHs, respectively, within two pore volumes. The impact of AP flushing on dissolved-phase PAH concentrations was relatively low; however, the concentrations of several low molar mass PAHs were significantly reduced after ASP flushing. Surfactant-polymer (SP) solutions removed over 99% of residual PAHs through a combination of mobilization and solubilization, and reduced the post-remediation, dissolved-phase total PAH concentration by 98.4-99.1%. Degradation of residual PAHs by base-activated sodium persulfate was relatively low (30-50%), and had little impact on dissolved-phase PAH concentrations.