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Distribution of Colloidal and Powdered Activated Carbon for the in Situ Treatment of Groundwater

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: The use of in situ technologies for the treatment of groundwater containing various compounds of concern are widely accepted. These technologies include chemical reduction, chemical oxidation, anaerobic and aerobic bioremediation, and adsorption, among others. One requirement for the successful application of these technologies is the delivery of the remedial reagent(s) to the compounds of concern. A rapidly evolving in situ technology is the injection of adsorptive media such as activated carbon and ion-exchange resin including powdered or colloidal activated carbon. Activated carbon has a long-demonstrated history of effectiveness for the removal of various organic and inorganic compounds in above ground water treatment systems. However, due to constraints related to the particle size and physical properties of the activated carbon, the in situ application of activated carbon has been limited. Recent developments in the manufacturing of activated carbon have created a smaller particle size allowing activated carbon to be applied in situ. To evaluate if powdered and colloidal activated carbon can be effectively distributed in aquifers, the two types of carbon were injected using direct push technology adjacent to each other at four sites with varying geology. Evaluation of distribution was completed by sampling the aquifer prior to and post-injection for total organic carbon. The results of the studies indicated that both forms of activated carbon were effectively delivered to the targeted injection zones with both carbon types being detected at least seven meters away from the point of injection. The colloidal form of the activated carbon showed good distribution throughout the four targeted zones of injection with 93 percent of the samples collected having colloidal activated carbon present within them whereas the powdered activated carbon cells were more susceptible to aquifer heterogeneity with only 67 percent of the samples collected having activated carbon present. Preferential accumulation of activated carbon was observed in high horizontal hydraulic conductivity seams, especially within the powdered activated carbon cells. These results suggested that the powdered form of activated carbon was more suspectable at the four sites to heterogeneity within the aquifer than the colloidal form of activated carbon. Sampling of monitoring well screens installed prior to the injection of the two forms of activated carbon showed preferential accumulation of powdered activated carbon within the sand pack, which could result in sampling bias.

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