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Field Performance of Air-Sparging System for Removing TCE from Groundwater

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journal contribution
posted on 12.11.1998, 00:00 by Alan J. Rabideau, James M. Blayden, Chandragupta Ganguly
The removal of volatile organic compounds from groundwater by air sparging (AS) is well-established, although reliable methods for predicting the time required to reach site closure have not been established. To develop an improved understanding of mass transfer processes that limit AS performance, two extended controlled shutdowns of an operating AS system were performed. Monitoring of TCE concentrations in source zone groundwater indicated “tailing” and “rebound” behavior similar to that observed for pump-and-treat systems. A simple two-compartment model provided a reasonable description of the 3-year AS history, using parameters calibrated from data collected during the first shutdown period. Comparison of the calibrated rate constants with parameters estimated from laboratory soil columns suggests that, for the study site, aqueous diffusion to discrete air channels has a stronger influence on system performance than rate-limited desorption. Predictions based on the calibrated model indicated that restoration of the source zone to drinking water standards would require approximately 1 decade for the current AS system.