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Houston Geological Society Bulletin


Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 43, No. 4, December 2000. Pages 17-17.

Abstract: Rapid Remediation by Thermal Technologies


Myron Kuhlman
MK Tech Solutions, Inc.

Remediation with thermal Previous HitmethodsNext Hit is a hot topic since steam injection, Previous HitelectricalNext Hit conduction heating, and Previous HitelectricalNext Hit resistance heating have been used in several successful projects. The most visible of these projects is the Visalia Superfund Project. A total of 1,300,000 pounds of wood treating chemicals were recovered there by injecting steam into an aquifer 120 feet underground. Less than one pound per day was being recovered by pump and treat. Even more robust thermal technologies are available to mineralize high concentrations of dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) underground in a few weeks.

Using steam or temperature as high as 800°C for in situ remediation can be thought of as enhancements of soil-vapor- extraction. The primary recovery mechanism is vaporization, however, the vapor pressure of the DNAPL increases orders of magnitude, because the temperature can be far above the boiling point of water. This means that large molecules like benzo (a) pyrene and PCBs can be more mobile than benzene is in a soil-vapor-extraction project.

Moreover, oxidation or reduction to mineralize DNAPLS is much more rapid. For instance, at Visalia, the half-life of benzo (a) pyrene in heated zones is 45 days. At 600°C in an ISTD project the half-life of benzo (a) pyrene is only a few minutes. PCB's are dechlorinated by ISTD in a few minutes, and destroyed in a steam project in two months. Thus, impossible projects can now be completed in a few months to a year. Several companies are commercializing thermal technologies at a cost ranging from $25 to $200 per cubic yard for larger projects. Dozens of projects have been completed and the industry is rapidly developing.

This talk describes the case histories of steam injection, in situ thermal destruction, and Previous HitelectricalTop resistance heating projects, how the industry is developing, how simulation of thermal projects with well proven simulators is a valuable tool for optimizing important mechanisms, improving project performance and reducing cost, and how money is made by remediating property.

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