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Evaluation of groundwater extraction for remediation of petroleum-contaminated aquifers

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Past experience has shown that restoration of an aquifer to drinking water quality by groundwater extraction and surface treatment may require many years of pumping. In this research, a mathematical model of hydrocarbon dissolution is developed to aid in the evaluation of groundwater remediation systems. The model assumes that residual hydrocarbon is distributed between two fractions: (1) a fast fraction in equilibrium with the aqueous phase and (2) a slow fraction in which mass transfer is limited. Relationships for simulating equilibrium partitioning are based on classical liquid-liquid equilibrium theory. Column experiments were performed to test the model and examine the kinetics of aromatic hydrocarbon dissolution as residual hydrocarbon ages. The hydrocarbon dissolution process included an initial equilibrium period during which dissolved hydrocarbon concentrations were high and roughly constant followed by a rapid drop-off period and an asymptotic period during which dissolved hydrocarbon concentrations were low and declined slowly. After passing more than 700 pore volumes of water through the column, between 8 and 10% of the original toluene and xylene isomers remained in the column. Model simulations were conducted to evaluate the effect of pulsed pumping on groundwater cleanup time.

Keywords: contamination; groundwater; modeling; multiphase; petroleum; remediation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1992

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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