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Importance of phase behavior on the removal of residual DNAPLs from porous media by alcohol flooding

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A promising method of accelerating the removal of residual DNAPLs from aquifers involves the mobilization of trapped globules by alcohol flooding. This technology was originally developed in the petroleum industry for the recovery of residual oil after waterflooding. Alcohols can significantly reduce the interfacial tension between the residual DNAPLs and the aqueous phase, allowing for mobilization of trapped globules through pore constrictions. In addition, laboratory batch and column results show that certain alcohols preferentially partition into the DNAPL phase, swelling the residual DNAPL globules considerably and at the same time reducing their density significantly. The swollen DNAPL globules become a relatively continuous phase during flooding, making them much easier to displace than disconnected residuals. Density reduction makes the mobilized DNAPL easier to control, and reduces the potential for further downward migration into uncontaminated portions of the aquifer. Laboratory column results confirm that residual trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene globules can be effectively removed from glass bead packings at low upflow gradients using preferentially DNAPL-soluble alcohols.
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Keywords: DNAPL; alcohol; groundwater; remediation; tetrachloroethylene; trichloroethylene

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 1993

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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