Remediation of Contaminated Soils by Solvent Flushing

Dionysius C.M. Augustijn, Ron E. Jessup, P. Suresh C. Rao, A. Lynn Wood

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Solvent flushing is a potential technique for remediating a waste disposal/spill site contaminated with organic chemicals. This technique involves the injection of a solvent mixture (e.g., water plus alcohols) that enhances contaminant solubility, reduces the retardation factor, and increases the release rates of the contaminants. A simulation model is developed to predict contaminant elution curves during solvent flushing for the case of one‐dimensional, steady flow through a contaminated medium. Column experiments are conducted with a Eustis fine sand that is initially equilibrated with an aqueous naphthalene solution, and then eluted with different methanol‐water mixtures to remove the naphthalene. The model simulations, based on parameter values estimated from literature data, agree well with the measured elution profiles. Solvent flushing experiments, where the soil was initially equilibrated with a solution of naphthalene and anthracene, show that compounds with different retardation factors are separated at low cosolvent contents, while coelution of the compounds occurs at higher contents. In general, the smaller the retardation factor in water and the higher the cosolvent fraction, the faster the contaminant is recovered. The presence of nonequilibrium conditions, soil heterogeneity, and type of cosolvent will influence the time required to recover the contaminant.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)42-57
JournalJournal of environmental engineering-ASCE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Organic chemicals
  • Flushing
  • Remedial action
  • Soil pollution
  • Abatement and removal
  • IR-79031
  • Contamination
  • Solvents

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