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J Contam Hydrol. 2009 Apr 1;105(3-4):81-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.12.001. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Dense non-aqueous phase liquids at former manufactured gas plants: challenges to modeling and remediation.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431, USA.


The remediation of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in porous media continues to be one of the most challenging problems facing environmental scientists and engineers. Of all the environmentally relevant DNAPLs, tars in the subsurface at former manufactured gas plants (FMGPs) pose one of the biggest challenges due to their complex chemical composition and tendency to alter wettability. To further our understanding of these complex materials, we consulted historic documentation to evaluate the impact of gas manufacturing on the composition and physicochemical nature of the resulting tars. In the recent literature, most work to date has been focused in a relatively narrow portion of the expected range of tar materials, which has yielded a bias toward samples of relatively low viscosity and density. In this work, we consider the dissolution and movement of tars in the subsurface, models used to predict these phenomena, and approaches used for remediation. We also explore the open issues and detail important gaps in our fundamental understanding of these extraordinarily complex systems that must be resolved to reach a mature level of understanding.

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