Treatment of water-repellent petroleum-contaminated soil from Bemidji, Minnesota, by alkaline desorption

R. H. Adams, R. A. Cerecedo-López, L. A. Alejandro-Álvarez, V. I. Domínguez-Rodríguez, J. L. Nieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

A pipeline right-of-way contaminated with light crude in 1979 and subsequently burned shows severe hydrophobicity, poor infiltration rates, and loss of vegetative cover. To evaluate alkaline desorption as a treatment method, surface soil samples were collected and analyzed pre- and post-treatment. Samples had total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations of 2800–63,100 mg/kg, severe water repellency, critical moisture 2–5 times above the in situ moisture content, but no acute toxicity. Thus, water repellency, rather than toxicity, is causing the loss of vegetation. Samples were treated with 0.1 N NaOH in two doses (1:3; soil/solution), with complete drainage between doses. Finally, each soil sample was washed with an equal volume or water and allowed to drain completely. For more hydrophobic samples, repeated treatments, without rinsing between each treatment, were made. Post-treatment, the samples were re-analyzed for water repellency and critical moisture content. In samples with initial water repellency values in the range of 5.0–6.7 M, the repellency was reduced 94–100 % and below critical levels to avoid soil hydrophobicity in field conditions. The other samples with initial water repellency values in the range of 10–13 M could not be recovered with single treatment, but sequential treatments reduced the hydrocarbon content up to 87 % and reduced the hydrophobicity to levels low enough or nearly low enough to avoid severe water repellency in the field. Currently, field studies are being carried out to evaluate this treatment method at the site, as a stand-alone method and in combination with organic amendment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2249-2260
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Keywords

  • Critical moisture content
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Remediation

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