Terrestrial environment

Enhanced flushing of polychlorinated biphenyls contaminated sands using surfactant foam: Effect of partition coefficient and sweep efficiency

Hao Wang , Jiajun Chen


Received July 26, 2011,Revised January 19, 2012, Accepted , Available online July 08, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1270-1277

Foam flushing is an in situ soil remediation technology based on the traditional surfactant flushing method. The contribution of mobility control to contaminant removal by foam is helpful for improving this technology. Foam flushing of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated unconsolidated media was performed to evaluate the effect of the partition coefficient (PC) and sweep efficiency (SE) on PCB removal. Column flushing with surfactant solution and foam with different types and concentrations of surfactant was carried out for PCB removal. Two types of quartz sand were investigated to evaluate the Jamin effect on the SE value of the washing agent. The results demonstrate that a small PC value and large SE value are necessary to achieve high PCB removal for foam flushing. Compared with solution flushing, the introduction of foam can effectively control the mobility of the washing agent. Similar to solution flushing, solubilization is a key factor which dominates the removal of PCBs in foam flushing. In addition, the SE value and PCB removal by foam flushing is less affected by particle size. Therefore, foam flushing was proved to be more effective in porous media with low hydraulic conductivity and high porosity. An integrated flushing with water, surfactant solution and foam was performed and the results prove that this technology successfully combines the advantages of solution solubilization and mobility control by foam, and thus further increases the remediation efficiency of PCBs to 94.7% for coarse sand.

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