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In situ modification of an aquifer material by a cationic surfactant to enhance retardation of organic contaminants

, : In situ modification of an aquifer material by a cationic surfactant to enhance retardation of organic contaminants. Journal Of Contaminant Hydrology. 10(4): 325-337

Sorption of hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (HDTMA), a cationic surfactant, on aquifer material from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, U.S.A., was examined. Transport studies using flow-through columns and a box model aquifer showed that an almost stationary zone of HDTMA-modified aquifer material could be produced in situ without a significant decrease in hydraulic conductivity. Perchloroethylene (PCE) and naphthalene sorption isotherms on the HDTMA-modified aquifer material were linear, and sorption coefficients were increased by over two orders of magnitude relative to the unmodified material. The retardation of PCE by in situ emplaced HDTMA zones within a column was examined. Agreement between batch- and column-derived sorption coefficients and breakthrough curve symmetry indicates that local equilibrium was attained. Significant retardation of a naphthalene plume by an in situ emplaced surfactant zone was demonstrated in the box model aquifer system. The experimental results indicate that it is feasible to create in situ a sorbent zone within an aquifer using cationic surfactants. In most situations, the sorbent zone concept needs to be coupled with contaminant degradation processes for sorbent emplacement to be a practical tool in the remediation of groundwater contamination sites. Sorbent zones may be of benefit in the engineering of suitable environments for microbial or abiotic degradation reactions and by providing time for slow reactions to occur.


DOI: 10.1016/0169-7722(92)90014-6

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