Solubilization of multi-component immiscible liquids in homogeneous systems: a comparison of different flushing agents using a 2-D flow cell

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University of Alabama Libraries

Complex multi-component immiscible liquid mixtures can significantly limit the effectiveness of groundwater remediation. The use of enhanced-flushing technologies has emerged as a promising technique for the remediation of sites contaminated with immiscible liquids. A series of two dimensional (2-D) flow cell experiments was conducted to quantify the effectiveness of two different flushing agents on the removal of a uniformly distributed multi-component immiscible liquid source zone. A 39.5 x 20.2 cm flow-cell was packed with 20/30-mesh sand and emplaced with a 15 x 3 cm rectangular source zone located at the center of the flow cell. The source zone was established with a 10% NAPL saturation (Sn) consisting of equal 1:1:1 mole mixture of tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE). The solubilization agents investigated included 5 wt% solution of a complexing sugar, hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD), and a 5 wt% solution of a surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). The results of these experiments indicate that the addition of a chemical flushing agent greatly reduces the time needed to remove each component compared to flushing with water alone (i.e. pump and treat). Elution curve (concentration-time) analysis from both total extraction and at the down-gradient end of the source zone showed that SDS removed all three components from the source zone approximately 10 times faster than HPCD. For the extraction port SDS showed slightly more ideal removal in terms of mass flux behavior, removing more mass initially before a significant reduction in mass flux was observed. Although SDS was superior when evaluated on a recovery basis, HPCD outperformed SDS for all components when compared based on contaminant-mass to reagent-mass and moles of contaminant to moles of reagent removed for the source zone port. These findings suggest that the selection of a particular flushing agent should be evaluated carefully prior to remediation, as the mass flux and removal behavior of each component may vary significantly, depending on the flushing agent employed.

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Environmental geology, Environmental engineering