Physics of DNAPL Migration and Remediation in the Presence of Heterogeneities

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Spilled solvents have created pervasive groundwater contamination problems across the DOE complex because of their ubiquitous use, their toxicity and persistence in the environment, combined with the difficulty of recovering them from the subsurface. Because organic solvents are more dense than water and immiscible with water, they are commonly referred to as DNAPLs (dense non-aqueous phase liquids). They migrate below the water table downward and laterally under the influence of gravity, capillary, and viscous forces. Variations in media texture that the DNAPLs encounter as they migrate can have a profound influence on the migration path. This interplay between textural heterogeneities ... continued below

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Conrad, Stephen H. & Glass, Robert J. June 15, 2001.

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)
    Place of Publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Spilled solvents have created pervasive groundwater contamination problems across the DOE complex because of their ubiquitous use, their toxicity and persistence in the environment, combined with the difficulty of recovering them from the subsurface. Because organic solvents are more dense than water and immiscible with water, they are commonly referred to as DNAPLs (dense non-aqueous phase liquids). They migrate below the water table downward and laterally under the influence of gravity, capillary, and viscous forces. Variations in media texture that the DNAPLs encounter as they migrate can have a profound influence on the migration path. This interplay between textural heterogeneities and driving forces complicates the migration of the DNAPLs and therefore it is not straightforward to predict the locations in the aquifer at which the spilled DNAPLs may ultimately reside. Uncertainties in the region of solvent contamination translate into higher remediation costs as the remedial system must be designed in light of these uncertainties. In an effort to clean up spilled DNAPLs, several remediation approaches are currently under development. Chemically enhanced solubilization, alcohol displacement, in situ oxidation, and air sparging are among the most promising. Many of these techniques have already undergone preliminary field demonstrations. However, results from such field demonstrations cannot be extrapolated to predict remedial performance under the wide range of field conditions to be encountered at spill sites across the DOE complex. Indeed, these techniques have not yet had the opportunity to be sufficiently tested and quantitatively compared in well-controlled laboratory experiments under heterogeneous conditions indicative of what can be expected in the field. In addition, the numerical simulation techniques used to predict DNAPL migration and remediation treatments have yet to be adequately verified through comparison against laboratory experiments conducted in heterogeneous media.

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  • Other Information: PBD: 15 Jun 2001

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  • June 15, 2001

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 21, 2016, 3:48 p.m.

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Conrad, Stephen H. & Glass, Robert J. Physics of DNAPL Migration and Remediation in the Presence of Heterogeneities, report, June 15, 2001; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782381/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.