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Title: Accelerated cleanup risk reduction

There is no proven technology for remediating contaminant plume source regions in a heterogeneous subsurface. This project is an interdisciplinary effort to develop the requisite new technologies so that will be rapidly accepted by the remediation community. Our technology focus is hydrous pyrolysis/oxidation (HPO) which is a novel in situ thermal technique. We have expanded this core technology to leverage the action of steam injection and place an in situ microbial filter downstream to intercept and destroy the accelerated movement of contaminated groundwater. Most contaminant plume source regions, including the chlorinated solvent plume at LLNL, are in subsurface media characterized by a wide range in hydraulic conductivity. At LLNL, the main conduits for contaminant transport are buried stream channels composed of gravels and sands; these have a hydraulic conductivity in the range of 10{sup -1} to 10{sup -2} cm/s. Clay and silt units with a hydraulic conductivity of 10{sup -1} to 10{sup -6} cm/s bound these buried channels; these are barriers to groundwater movement and contain the highest contaminant concentrations in the source region. New remediation technologies are required because the current ones preferentially access the high conductivity units. HPO is an innovative process for the in situ destruction ofmore » contaminants in the entire subsurface. It operates by the injection of steam. We have demonstrated in laboratory experiments that many contaminants rapidly oxidize to harmless compounds at temperatures easily achieved by injecting steam, provided sufficient dissolved oxygen is present. One important challenge in a heterogeneous source region is getting heat, contaminants, and an oxidizing agent in the same place at the same time. We have used the NUFT computer program to simulate the cyclic injection of steam into a contaminated aquifer for design of a field demonstration. We used an 8 hour, steam/oxygen injection cycle followed by a 56 hour relaxation period in which the well was `capped`. Our results show the formation of an inclined gas phase during injection and a fast collapse of the steam zone within an hour of terminating steam injection. The majority of destruction occurs during the collapse phase, when contaminant laden water is drawn back towards the well. Little to no noncondensible gasses are created in this process, removing any possibility of sparging processes interfering with contaminant destruction. Our models suggest that the thermal region should be as hot and as large as possible. To have HPO accepted, we need to demonstrate the in situ destruction of contaminants. This requires the ability to inexpensively sample at depth and under high temperatures. We proved the ability to implies monitoring points at depths exceeding 150 feet in highly heterogeneous soils by use of cone penetrometry. In addition, an extractive system has been developed for sampling fluids and measuring their chemistry under the range of extreme conditions expected. We conducted a collaborative field test of HPO at a Superfund site in southern California where the contaminant is mainly creosote and pentachlorophenol. Field results confirm the destruction of contaminants by HPO, validate our field design from simulations, demonstrate that accurate field measurements of the critical fluid parameters can be obtained using existing monitoring wells (and minimal capital cost) and yield reliable cost estimates for future commercial application. We also tested the in situ microbial filter technology as a means to intercept and destroy the accelerated flow of contaminants caused by the injection of steam. A series of laboratory and field tests revealed that the selected bacterial species effectively degrades trichloroethene in LLNL Groundwater and under LLNL site conditions. In addition, it was demonstrated that the bacteria effectively attach to the LLNL subsurface media. An in-well treatability study indicated that the bacteria initially degrade greater than 99% of the contaminant, to concentrations less than regulatory limits. The duration of this in situ performance is not currently known, but should be consistent with previous field tests.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
ON: DE98058332; BR: DP0402061; TRN: 99:000384
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Feb 1998
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States