Final Report: Ultrasonic Enhancement of Soil Fracturing Technologies for In-Situ Detoxification of Contaminated Soil

EPA Grant Number: R825511C039
Subproject: this is subproject number 039 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825511
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC
Center Director: Sidhu, Sukh S.
Title: Ultrasonic Enhancement of Soil Fracturing Technologies for In-Situ Detoxification of Contaminated Soil
Investigators: Hanesian, Deran , Fernandez, Hugo J. , Perna, Angelo , Schuring, John
Institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 1995 through May 31, 1996
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Substance Research Centers , Land and Waste Management


The objective of the present study is to use ultrasonic energy to complement in situ soil remediation by enhancing removal of VOC's and liquid contaminants from moderate low permeability geologic formations. Ultrasound technology has been proven in a variety of industrial applications to increase mass transfer rates and chemical reaction rates in liquid and gas phase reactions. The present research project attempts to extend these benefits to in-Situ remediation of soil by coupling this process with fracturing technologies (pneumatic and hydraulic) and thereby realizing maximum enhancement by focusing the ultrasonic energy into discrete fractured zones within the geologic formations.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Rationale: It is believed that doubling the detoxification rate will ultimately be possible. This would cut the treatment time in half, thus realizing significant savings in labor and operational costs. The preliminary laboratory results also suggest that ultrasound may be effective as a "polishing step" after primary remediation, thereby allowing attainment of lower clean-up concentration levels and the attainment of regulatory levels after standard methods have reached asymptotic values. A portion of these savings will be offset by the capital cost of the ultrasound generators and the power requirements, but these are anticipated to be modest. It is expected that the coupling of ultrasound with the proven process of soil fracturing will yield positive, enhanced results.

Approach: A conceptual schematic of the proposed ultrasonic field system has been developed. The ultrasound energy is generated in a down-the-hole device and propagates radially into the geologic formation, and the vibrations are carried into the formation by the same injected air which powers the device. Primary extraction and/or treatment of the contaminants will proceed using standard in situ remediation technologies such as vapor extraction, pump and treat, and bioremediation, removing contaminants in either the vapor or liquid phases.

Status: Since the study began in June 1995, numerous commercial sources of ultrasonic devices were investigated. All of the generic types of ultrasonic generation systems were considered including: electrostatic, electrodynamic, magnetostrictive, piezooelectric, and pneumatic transducers. Although none of the available devices were found to be suitable for the current research, it was decided to pursue a variation of a concept presented by Allen and Rudnick for a pneumatic transducer. A laboratory prototype of the ultrasonic probe was subsequently designed and constructed at NJIT. Bench scale testing was conducted in a 1 ft by 1 ft by 2 ft high Plexiglas test cell filled with fine sand, and fractures are simulated using a 0.5-inch thick layer of coarse sand. The cell was connected by a manifold to a flow control system and a continuous reading Photoionization Detector (PID) to monitor the off-gas. In addition, the cell was mounted on an electronic load cell system to monitor the overall mass removal rate. Experiments were conducted by operating the vacuum extraction system until the mass removal rate of the surrogate contaminant (mixture of ethyl alcohol and water) became asymptotic. The ultrasonic device, which was installed in center of the tank, was then activated and its effect on mass removal rate evaluated. Runs were made using both intermittent and continuous ultrasonic energy.

The results from these experimental runs were considered preliminary, but nevertheless encouraging. The net total increase in mass removal rate was 150%, which was quite significant. These results suggested strongly that ultrasound is a viable enhancement technique for treatment of VOC's in low permeability formations. The ultrasonic process which is still under development is an in- situ process which will provide two direct benefits: faster contaminant removal rate and shorter remediation time. This can result in substantial savings, since operational costs typically represent the largest portion of a cleanup budget. In addition, it is believed that in-situ ultrasound will be an effective "polishing" technique when applied after a vacuum extraction system has reached asymptotic behavior. Such applications would increase the ability to reach regulatory clean-up levels at difficult sites.

Client/Users: Corporations involved in site remediation. Regulatory personnel involved in site remediation and in site assessment. Manufacturers of ultrasonic devices.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 3 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

In Situ treatment, Ultrasonic, Soil Fracturing., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Chemical Engineering, Remediation, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Hazardous Waste, Bioremediation, Ecology and Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous, hazardous waste management, hazardous waste treatment, risk assessment, sediment treatment, environmental technology, decontamination of soil and water, in situ remediation, soil and groundwater remediation, unltrasonic enhancement, biodegradation, risk management, contaminated sediment, decontamination of soil, chemical contaminants, kinetic studies, contaminated soil, in situ degradation, soil fracturing, contaminants in soil, bioremediation of soils, in situ bioremediation, kinetic models, biotransformation, technology transfer

Main Center Abstract and Reports:

R825511    HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R825511C001 Development of Mechanisms and Kinetic Models on Formation of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans from Aromatic Precursors
R825511C002 Real-Time Monitoring and Control of Emissions from Stationary Combustors and Incinerators
R825511C003 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
R825511C004 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
R825511C005 Advanced Leak Detection and Location Research: Extending the SERDP-funded Technical Base
R825511C006 Three-Dimensional Geostatistical Site Characterization with Updating
R825511C007 Anaerobic Biodegradation of PAHs in Soils and Dredged Sediments: Characterizing, Monitoring and Promoting Remediation
R825511C008 Substrate Accelerated Death and Extended Lag Phases as Causes of the Recalcitrance of Halogenated Compounds in Anoxic Environments
R825511C009 Fate and Transport of Nonionic Surfactants
R825511C010 In Situ Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and PAHs in Contaminated Salt Marsh Sediments
R825511C011 Design and Operation of Surfactant-Enhanced Bioslurry Reactors
R825511C012 Experimental Study of Overland Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts
R825511C013 Development of a Framework for Evaluation of Leaching from Solid Waste
R825511C014 Use of a New Leaching Test Framework for Evaluating Alternative Treatment Processes for Mercury Contaminated Mixed Waste (Hazardous and Radioactive)
R825511C015 Field Pilot Test of In Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil
R825511C016 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
R825511C017 Field Demonstration of the Use of Reactive Zero-Valence Iron Powder to Treat Source Zone Sites Impacted by Halogenated Volatile Organic Chemicals
R825511C018 Technology Transfer of Continuous Non-Methane Organic Carbon (C-NMOC) Analyzer
R825511C019 Field Sampling and Treatability Study for In-Situ Remediation of PCB's and Leachable Lead with Iron Powder
R825511C020 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration, PIC Formation, and Emissions Control
R825511C021 Experimental Studies and Numerical Modeling of Turbulent Combustion During Thermal Treatment of Hazardous Wastes: Applied Research for the Generation of Design and Diagnostic Tools
R825511C022 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater - Phase IV
R825511C023 Novel Molecular Tools for Monitoring In-Situ Bioremediation
R825511C024 Surfactant-Enhanced Bioremediation of Soils in the Presence of an Organic Phase
R825511C025 Enhanced Microbial Dechlorination of PCBs and Dioxins in Contaminated Dredge Spoils
R825511C026 Toward A Risk-Based Model for Bioremediation of Multicomponent NAPL Contaminants
R825511C027 Removal and Recovery of VOCs and Oils from Surfactant-Flushed Recovered Water by Membrane Permeation
R825511C029 Field Pilot Test of In-Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil in Cooperation with McLaren/Hart Environmental Engineers at the Hillsborough, NJ Site
R825511C030 In-Situ Field Test of Electroremediation of a Chromate-Contaminated Site in Hudson County, New Jersey
R825511C031 Electrokinetic Removal of Heavy Metals and Mixed Hazardous Wastes from Partially and Fully Saturated Soils
R825511C032 Effects of Clay Charge and Confining Stresses on Soil Remediation by Electroosmosis
R825511C033 Assessment of Surfactant Enhanced Bioremediation for Soils/Aquifers Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
R825511C034 In-Situ Bioremediation of Organic Compounds: Coupling of Mass Transfer and Biodegradation
R825511C035 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
R825511C036 Field Pilot Scale Demonstration of Trench Bio-Sparge: An In-Situ Groundwater Treatment Technology
R825511C037 In-Situ Reductive Dehalogenation of Aliphatic Compounds by Fermentative Heterotrophic Bacteria
R825511C038 The Effect of Carbon-Nitrogen Ratios on Bacterial Transport and Biodegradation Rates In Soils
R825511C039 Ultrasonic Enhancement of Soil Fracturing Technologies for In-Situ Detoxification of Contaminated Soil
R825511C040 Full Field Demonstration of Integrated Pneumatic Fracturing and In-Situ Bioremediation
R825511C041 Determination of Adsorption and Desorption Behavior of Petroleum Products on Soils
R825511C042 Evaluation of the Potential for Complete Bioremediation of NAPL-Contaminated Soils Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
R825511C043 Characterization of Subsurface NAPL Distributions at Heterogeneous Field Sites
R825511C044 Development of a Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatograph/Microwave Induced Plasma/Mass Spectrometer (TDGC/MIP/MS) for On-site Analysis of Organic and Metal Contaminants
R825511C045 Using Trainable Networks for a Three-dimensional Characterization of Subsurface Contamination
R825511C046 Application of Advanced Waste Characterization to Soil Washing and Treatment
R825511C047 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater Phase III
R825511C048 Improved Luminescence Sensors for Oxygen Measurement
R825511C049 Preconcentration, Speciation and Determination of Dissolved Heavy Metals in Natural Waters, using Ion Exchange and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
R825511C050 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration and PIC Formation
R825511C051 PIC Emission Minimization: Fundamentals and Applications
R825511C052 Project Title: Development of a Two Stage, Pulse Combustion, VOC Destruction Technology
R825511C053 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
R825511C054 FTIR Analysis of Gaseous Products from Hazardous Waste Combustion
R825511C055 Toxic Metals Volatilization for Waste Separation and Real-time Metals Analyses
R825511C056 Mixed Metal Removal and Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane-Based Extractive Adsorber
R825511C057 Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Contaminated Groundwater and Soils by Pervaporation
R825511C058 Simultaneous SO2/NO Removal/Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane
R825511C059 Superfund Sites and Mineral Industries Method
R825511C060 Soil Washing of Mixed Organics/Metal Contamination
R825511C061 Removal of Cesium, Strontium, Americium, Technetium and Plutonium from Radioactive Wastewater
R825511C062 Development of a Method for Removal of Nonvolatile Organic Materials from Soil using Flotation
R825511C063 Recovery of Evaporative Fuel Losses by Vapor Permeation Membranes
R825511C064 Surfactant Selection Protocol for Ex Situ Soil Washing
R825511C065 Biofiltration for the Control of Toxic Industrial VOCs Emissions
R825511C066 Catalytic Oxidation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Water
R825511C067 Soil Washing for Remediating Metal Contaminated Soils
R825511C068 Aqueous Absorption and Kinetics of NO by Strong Oxidizing Agents
R825511C069 Remediation of Dredging Spoils
R825511C070 Freeze Concentration for Zero-Effluent Processes
R825511C071 Life Cycle/Pollution Prevention Response to Executive Order 12856
R825511C072 Faster Better, Cheaper Hazardous Waste Site Characterization and Cleanup: an Adaptive Sampling and Analysis Strategy Employing Dynamic Workplans
R825511C073 Development of a Comprehensive Computer Model for the Pneumatic Fracturing Process
R825511C074 Technology Demonstration and Validation of CFAST Field Analytical Instrumentation for Use in Hazardous Waste Site Characterization, Clean-up and Monitoring
R825511C075 XFLOW: Training Software Simulating Contaminant Site Characterization and Remediation