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Stripping volatile organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons from water

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and petroleum products are ubiquitous groundwater contaminants. Petroleum products, for example, diesel fuel, contain a wide array of volatile, semivolatile, and large-chain hydrocarbon compounds. This research sought to determine whether air stripping can provide a site-specific treatment solution for petroleum-contaminated groundwaters and to document the abilities and limitations of tray-type (ShallowTray air-stripping technology. Full factorial experimental trials were conducted to determine the influence of inlet water flow rate and temperature on trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) removal. As expected, TPH removal controlled air stripper performance, and liquid temperature affected removal more than flow rate. The mass-transfer rate of TCE and PCE from water to air was controlled by the compound's volatility, whereas the TPH mass-transfer rate was controlled by the compound's concentration gradient. Results indicate that economical air stripping of VOC and TPH compounds can be achieved using low liquid flow rates (20 to 75 L/min), high air/water ratios (225 to 898), and medium liquid temperatures (16°C to 28°C) in tray-type air strippers.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1996

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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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