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J Contam Hydrol. 2018 Mar;210:42-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2018.02.004. Epub 2018 Feb 16.

Effect of increased groundwater viscosity on the remedial performance of surfactant-enhanced air sparging.

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Dept. of Environmental Sciences and Biotechnology, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do 24252, Republic of Korea.
Dept. of Environmental Sciences and Biotechnology, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do 24252, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
Dept. of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


The effect of groundwater viscosity control on the performance of surfactant-enhanced air sparging (SEAS) was investigated using 1- and 2-dimensional (1-D and 2-D) bench-scale physical models. The viscosity of groundwater was controlled by a thickener, sodium carboxymethylcellulose (SCMC), while an anionic surfactant, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (SDBS), was used to control the surface tension of groundwater. When resident DI water was displaced with a SCMC solution (500 mg/L), a SDBS solution (200 mg/L), and a solution with both SCMC (500 mg/L) and SDBS (200 mg/L), the air saturation for sand-packed columns achieved by air sparging increased by 9.5%, 128%, and 154%, respectively, (compared to that of the DI water-saturated column). When the resident water contained SCMC, the minimum air pressure necessary for air sparging processes increased, which is considered to be responsible for the increased air saturation. The extent of the sparging influence zone achieved during the air sparging process using the 2-D model was also affected by viscosity control. Larger sparging influence zones (de-saturated zone due to air injection) were observed for the air sparging processes using the 2-D model initially saturated with high-viscosity solutions, than those without a thickener in the aqueous solution. The enhanced air saturations using SCMC for the 1-D air sparging experiment improved the degradative performance of gaseous oxidation agent (ozone) during air sparging, as measured by the disappearance of fluorescence (fluorescein sodium salt). Based on the experimental evidence generated in this study, the addition of a thickener in the aqueous solution prior to air sparging increased the degree of air saturation and the sparging influence zone, and enhanced the remedial potential of SEAS for contaminated aquifers.


Air sparging; Aquifer; Pressure; Remediation; Surfactant; Thickener; Viscosity

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