Comparison of residual NAPL source removal techniques in 3D metric scale experiments


  • Atteia Olivier
  • Jousse Florie
  • Cohen Grégory
  • Höhener Patrick

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This study compared four treatment techniques for the removal of a toluene/n-decane as NAPL (Non Aqueous Phase Liquid) phase mixture in identical 1 cubic meter tanks filled with different kind of sand. These four treatment techniques were: oxidation with persulfate, surfactant washing with Tween80®, sparging with air followed by ozone, and thermal treatment at 80 °C. The sources were made with three lenses of 26 × 26 × 6.5 cm, one having a hydraulic conductivity similar to the whole tank and the two others a value 10 times smaller. The four techniques were studied after conditioning the tanks with tap water during approximately 80 days. The persulfate treatment tests showed average removal of the contaminants but significant flux decrease if density effects are considered. Surfactant flushing did not show a highly significant increase of the flux of toluene but allowed an increased removal rate that could lead to an almost complete removal with longer treatment time. Sparging removed a significant amount but suggest that air was passing through localized gas channels and that the removal was stagnating after removing half of the contamination. Thermal treatment reached 100% removal after the target temperature of 80 °C was kept during more than 10 d. The experiments emphasized the generation of a high-spatial heterogeneity in NAPL content. For all the treatments the overall removal was similar for both n-decane and toluene, suggesting that toluene was removed rapidly and n-decane more slowly in some zones, while no removal existed in other zones. The oxidation and surfactant results were also analyzed for the relation between contaminant fluxes at the outlet and mass removal. For the first time, this approach clearly allowed the differentiation of the treatments. As a conclusion, experiments showed that the most important differences between the tested treatment techniques were not the global mass removal rates but the time required to reach 99% decrease in the contaminant fluxes, which were different for each technique.

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