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A compact remediation system for the treatment of groundwater contaminated with BTEX and TPH

Caetano, M. O., Schneider, I. A. H., Gomes, L. P., Kieling, A. G., Miranda, L. A. S.
Environmental technology 2017 v.38 no.11 pp. 1408-1420
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), activated carbon, adsorption, aeration, benzene, environmental technology, groundwater, groundwater contamination, humans, husk ash, laws and regulations, petroleum, pollutants, remediation, soil, tanks, toluene, toxicity, volatile organic compounds, volatilization, xylene
Gas stations constitute important point sources of soil and groundwater pollution. The leaking of hydrocarbons into the soil is a significant environment issue due to the wide-ranging occurrence of leaks and the high levels and toxicity of pollutants involved in the contamination of groundwater for human use. This study introduces a compact system developed to treat groundwater contaminated with benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes (BTEX) and total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) leaked from gas station tanks. The system comprises three units: (1) suction and volatilization of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), (2) aeration tank (to remove volatile organic substances), and (3) an adsorption packed-bed filter (activated carbon (AC) and rice husk ash, 50% each, to remove TPH). Contaminated groundwater was characterized in a pilot study and in the field. Levels of BTEX and of TPH decreased by 96% with an 8-h retention time. The results obtained show that the remediation system is highly efficient and yielded water that met the discharge standards defined in the Brazilian legislation, that is, maximum benzene, toluene, and xylene levels of 5, 170, and 300 μg/L, respectively.