Application of Waves for Remediation of Contaminated Aquifers

A theory developed suggested that significant displacement of solute in saturated porous media results from the propagation of compression waves. Four independent one-dimensional experimental setups and a variety of laboratory methods were used to confirm the predictions of the theory, specifically aimed at developing a novel method of inducing compression waves for use in remediation of contaminated aquifers. Compaction and shock waves were emitted through granular porous media saturated with saline water. The changes in solute concentration at observation points along the propagating wave were used to verify the validity of theory. The first setup was designed mainly to provide a qualitative assessment (i.e., changes in pressure due to the propagating wave were not recorded). In situ quantitative measurements of the pressure and electrical conductivity profiles along a sand column were done with the second and third experimental setups, respectively, to short and long shock waves. In the fourth setup, solute displacement was visualized by X-ray absorption. The findings were consistent with the theory in all experimental setups.