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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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Surfactant-Enhanced Remediation of Ground Water at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey


James J. Deitsch (Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-2442) and James A. Smith (Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-2442)


The efficiency of pump-and-treat remedial systems is limited by the slow, kinetic mass transfer of organic contaminants from soil to water. The scope of this research is to determine whether the addition of the nonionic surfactant, Triton X-100, to the aqueous phase can artificially increase the rate of trichloroethene (TCE) mass transfer from soil to water at Picatinny Arsenal. The rate of TCE mass transfer (desorption) from soil to water is modeled as the product of a mass-transfer coefficient and a concentration gradient. Laboratory experiments were conducted using continuous-flow stirred tank reactors (CFSTR's), with and without Triton X-100, to study the effect of the surfactant on the rate of desorption of TCE from soil to water. Preliminary results indicate that the rate of desorption is increased by the presence of Triton X-100 in the aqueous phase. Two possible mechanisms are responsible for the increased desorption rate: First, the addition of Triton X-100 above its critical micelle concentration can increase the apparent water solubility of TCE and thus increase the concentration gradient between the sorbed and aqueous phases. Second, Triton X-100 can increase the mass-transfer coefficient. Future experiments are planned to determine the precise mechanism affecting the rate of desorption.

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