Can Chemical Oxidation Improve the Permeability of Infiltration Basins?

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The Rapid Infiltration and Extraction (RIX) facility, a soil aquifer treatment system, began taking secondary effluent from the City of San Bernardino, California, in 1996. The gradual decreasein the hydraulic conductivity of the infiltration basins at RIX has been attributed tothe accumulation of organic matter in the surface sand. Periodic tillage of the surface sand to restore the permeability has mixed this organic matter to a depth of nearly 50 cm. We hypothesized that in situ chemical oxidation of the surface sand might improve the infiltration rate and increase the time between filling and drying cycles. The effect of organic matter oxidation on sand permeability was tested in laboratory sand columns treated with sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochorite, and ozone gas. All oxidants significantly decreased the hydraulic conductivity of the surface sand. The loss in permeability was attributed to an increase in dispersed clay plus silt-sized particles that were released as a result of oxidation. This study suggests that ex situ sand-washing operations, currently being used to clean the sand, could be improved by the addition of oxidants to the wash water.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2004

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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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