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LNAPL source zone delineation using soil gases in a heterogeneous silty-sand aquifer

Abstract : Source delineation of hydrocarbon contaminated sites is of high importance for remediation work. However, traditional methods like soil core extraction and analysis or recent Membrane Interface Probe methods are time consuming and costly. Therefore, the development of an in situ method based on soil gas analysis can be interesting. This includes the direct measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in soil gas taken from gas probes using a PID (Photo Ionization Detector) and the analysis of other soil gases related to VOC degradation distribution (CH4, O-2, CO2) or related to presence of Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL) as Rn-222. However, in widespread heterogeneous formations, delineation by gas measurements becomes more challenging. The objective of this study is twofold: (i) to analyse the potential of several in situ gas measurement techniques in comparison to soil coring for LNAPL source delineation at a heterogeneous contaminated site where the techniques might be limited by a low diffusion potential linked to the presence of fine sands and silts, and (ii) to analyse the effect of vertical sediment heterogeneities on the performance of these gas measurement methods. Thus, five types of gases were analysed: VOCs, their three related degradation products O-2, CO2 and CH4 and Rn-222. Gas measurements were compared to independent LNAPL analysis by coring. This work was conducted at an old industrial site frequently contaminated by a Diesel-Fuel mixture located in a heterogeneous fine-grained aquifer. Results show that in such heterogeneous media migration of reactive gases like VOCs occurs only across small distances and the VOC concentrations sampled with gas probes are mainly related to local conditions rather than the presence of LNAPL below the gas probe. Rn-222 is not well correlated with LNAPL because of sediment heterogeneity. Oxygen, CO2, and especially CH4, have larger lengths of diffusion and give the clearest picture for LNAPL presence at this site even when the gas probe is somewhat distant. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 16, 2017 - 4:47:53 PM
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Gregory J. V. Cohen, Florie Jousse, Nicolas Luze, Patrick Höhener, Olivier Atteia. LNAPL source zone delineation using soil gases in a heterogeneous silty-sand aquifer. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 2016, 192, pp.20-34. ⟨10.1016/j.jconhyd.2016.06.001⟩. ⟨hal-01436756⟩



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