Matching Items (13)
- All Subjects: Environmental engineering
- Creators: Kavazanjian, Edward
- Resource Type: Text
Transport and biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbon vapors in the subsurface: a laboratory soil column study
In this work, the vapor transport and aerobic bio-attenuation of compounds from a multi-component petroleum vapor mixture were studied for six idealized lithologies in 1.8-m tall laboratory soil columns. Columns representing different geological settings were prepared using 20-40 mesh sand (medium-grained) and 16-minus mesh crushed granite (fine-grained). The contaminant vapor source was a liquid composed of twelve petroleum hydrocarbons common in weathered gasoline. It was placed in a chamber at the bottom of each column and the vapors diffused upward through the soil to the top where they were swept away with humidified gas. The experiment was conducted in three phases: i) nitrogen sweep gas; ii) air sweep gas; iii) vapor source concentrations decreased by ten times from the original concentrations and under air sweep gas. Oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon concentrations were monitored over time. The data allowed determination of times to reach steady conditions, effluent mass emissions and concentration profiles. Times to reach near-steady conditions were consistent with theory and chemical-specific properties. First-order degradation rates were highest for straight-chain alkanes and aromatic hydrocarbons. Normalized effluent mass emissions were lower for lower source concentration and aerobic conditions. At the end of the study, soil core samples were taken every 6 in. Soil moisture content analyses showed that water had redistributed in the soil during the experiment. The soil at the bottom of the columns generally had higher moisture contents than initial values, and soil at the top had lower moisture contents. Profiles of the number of colony forming units of hydrocarbon-utilizing bacteria/g-soil indicated that the highest concentrations of degraders were located at the vertical intervals where maximum degradation activity was suggested by CO2 profiles. Finally, the near-steady conditions of each phase of the study were simulated using a three-dimensional transient numerical model. The model was fit to the Phase I data by adjusting soil properties, and then fit to Phase III data to obtain compound-specific first-order biodegradation rate constants ranging from 0.0 to 5.7x103 d-1.
This dissertation focuses on the application of urban metabolism metrology (UMM) to process streams of the natural and built water environment to gauge public health concerning exposure to carcinogenic N-nitrosamines and abuse of narcotics. A survey of sources of exposure to N-nitrosamines in the U.S. population identified contaminated food products (1,900 ± 380 ng/day) as important drivers of attributable cancer risk (Chapter 2). Freshwater sediments in the proximity of U.S. municipal wastewater treatment plants were shown for the first time to harbor carcinogenic N-nitrosamine congeners, including N-nitrosodibutylamine (0.2-3.3 ng/g dw), N-nitrosodiphenylamine (0.2-4.7 ng/g dw), and N-nitrosopyrrolidine (3.4-19.6 ng/g dw) were, with treated wastewater discharge representing one potential factor contributing to the observed contamination (p=0.42) (Chapter 3). Opioid abuse rates in two small midwestern communities were estimated through the application of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Average concentrations of opioids (City 1; City 2) were highest for morphine (713 ± 38, 306 ± 29 ng/L) and varied by for the remainder of the screened analytes. Furthermore, concentrations of the powerful opioid fentanyl (1.7 ± 0.2, 1.0 ± 0.5 ng/L) in wastewater were reported for the first time in the literature for the U.S. (Chapter 4). To gauge narcotic consumption within college-aged adults the WBE process used in Chapter 4 was applied to wastewater collected from a large university in the Southwestern U.S. Estimated narcotics consumption, in units of mg/day/1,000 persons showed the following rank order: cocaine (470 ± 42), heroin (474 ± 32), amphetamine (302 ± 14) and methylphenidate (236 ± 28). Most parental drugs and their respective metabolites showed detection frequencies in campus wastewater of 80% or more, with the notable exception of fentanyl, norfentanyl, buprenorphine, and norbuprenorphine. Estimated consumption of all narcotics, aside from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication, were higher than values reported in previous U.S. WBE studies for U.S. campuses (Chapter 5). The analyses presented here have identified variation in narcotic consumption habits across different U.S. communities, which can be gauged through UMM. Application of these techniques should be implemented throughout U.S. communities to provide insight into ongoing substance abuse and health issues within a community.
Use of interface treatment to reduce emissions from residuals in lower permeability zones to groundwater flowing through more permeable zones
Hydrocarbon spill site cleanup is challenging when contaminants are present in lower permeability layers. These are difficult to remediate and may result in long-term groundwater impacts. The research goal is to investigate strategies for long-term reduction of contaminant emissions from sources in low permeability layers through partial source treatment at higher/lower permeability interfaces. Conceptually, this provides a clean/reduced concentration zone near the interface, and consequently a reduced concentration gradient and flux from the lower permeability layer. Treatment by in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) was evaluated using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and sodium persulfate (Na2S2O8). H2O2 studies included lab and field-scale distribution studies and lab emission reduction experiments. The reaction rate of H2O2 in soils was so fast it did not travel far (<1 m) from delivery points under typical flow conditions. Oxygen gas generated and partially trapped in soil pores served as a dissolved oxygen (DO) source for >60 days in field and lab studies. During that period, the laboratory studies had reduced hydrocarbon impacts, presumably from aerobic biodegradation, which rebounded once the O2 source depleted. Therefore field monitoring should extend beyond the post-treatment elevated DO. Na2S2O8 use was studied in two-dimensional tanks (122-cm tall, 122-cm wide, and 5-cm thick) containing two contrasting permeability layers (three orders of magnitude difference). The lower permeability layer initially contained a dissolved-sorbed contaminant source throughout this layer, or a 10-cm thick non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL)-impacted zone below the higher/lower permeability interface. The dissolved-sorbed source tank was actively treated for 14 d. Two hundred days after treatment, the emission reduction of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and p-xylene (BTEX) were 95-99% and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) was 63%. The LNAPL-source tank had three Na2S2O8 and two sodium hydroxide (NaOH) applications for S2O82- base activation. The resulting emission reductions for BTEX, n-propylbenzene, and 1,3,5 trymethylbenzene were 55-73%. While less effective at reducing emissions from LNAPL sources, the 14-d treatment delivered sufficient S2O82- though diffusion to remediate BTEX from the 60 cm dissolved-sorbed source. The overall S2O82- utilization in the dissolved source experiment was calculated by mass balance to be 108-125 g S2O82-/g hydrocarbon treated.
Improving our understanding of source zones at petroleum impacted sites through physical model studies
Characterization of petroleum spill site source zones directly influences the selection of corrective action plans and frequently affects the success of remediation efforts. For example, simply knowing whether or not nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) is present, or if there is chemical storage in less hydraulically accessible regions, will influence corrective action planning. The overarching objective of this study was to assess if macroscopic source zone features can be inferred from dissolved concentration vs. time data. Laboratory-scale physical model studies were conducted for idealized sources; defined as Type-1) NAPL-impacted high permeability zones, Type-2) NAPL-impacted lower permeability zones, and Type-3) dissolved chemical matrix storage in lower permeability zones. Aquifer source release studies were conducted using two-dimensional stainless steel flow-through tanks outfitted with sampling ports for the monitoring of effluent concentrations and flow rates. An idealized NAPL mixture of key gasoline components was used to create the NAPL source zones, and dissolved sources were created using aqueous solutions having concentrations similar to water in equilibrium with the NAPL sources. The average linear velocity was controlled by pumping to be about 2 ft/d, and dissolved effluent concentrations were monitored daily. The Type-1 experiment resulted in a source signature similar to that expected for a relatively well-mixed NAPL source, with dissolved concentrations dependent on chemical solubility and initial mass fraction. The Type-2 and Type-3 experiments were conducted for 320 d and 190 d respectively. Unlike the Type-1 experiment, the concentration vs. time behavior was similar for all chemicals, for both source types. The magnitudes of the effluent concentrations varied between the Type-2 and Type-3 experiments, and were related to the hydrocarbon source mass. A fourth physical model experiment was performed to identify differences between ideal equilibrium behavior and the source concentration vs. time behavior observed in the tank experiments. Screening-level mathematical models predicted the general behavior observed in the experiments. The results of these studies suggest that dissolved concentration vs. time data can be used to distinguish between Type-1 sources in transmissive zones and Type-2 and Type-3 sources in lower permeability zones, provided that many years to decades of data are available. The results also suggest that concentration vs. time data alone will be insufficient to distinguish between NAPL and dissolved-phase storage sources in lower permeability regions.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are central to atmospheric chemistry and have significant impacts on the environment. The reaction of oxygenated VOCs with OH radicals was first studied to understand the fate of oxygenated VOCs. The rate constants of the gas-phase reaction of OH radicals with trans-2-hexenal, trans-2-octenal, and trans-2 nonenal were determined using the relative rate technique. Then the interactions between VOCs and ionic liquid surfaces were studied. The goal was to find a material to selectively detect alcohol compounds. Computational chemistry calculations were performed to investigate the interactions of ionic liquids with different classes of VOCs. The thermodynamic data suggest that 1-butyl-3-methylimindazolium chloride (C4mimCl) preferentially interacts with alcohols as compared to other classes of VOCs. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to probe the ionic liquid surface before and after exposure to the VOCs that were tested. New spectral features were detected after exposure of C4mimCl to various alcohols and a VOC mixture with an alcohol in it. The new features are characteristic of the alcohols tested. No new IR features were detected after exposure of the C4mimCl to the aldehyde, ketone, alkane, alkene, alkyne or aromatic compounds. The experimental results demonstrated that C4mimCl is selective to alcohols, even in complex mixtures. The kinetic study of the association and dissociation of alcohols with C4minCl surfaces was performed. The findings in this work provide information for future gas-phase alcohol sensor design. CO2 is a major contributor to global warming. An ionic liquid functionalized reduced graphite oxide (IL-RGO)/ TiO2 nanocomposite was synthesized and used to reduce CO2 to a hydrocarbon in the presence of H2O vapor. The SEM image revealed that IL-RGO/TiO2 contained separated reduced graphite oxide flakes with TiO2 nanoparticles. Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy was used to study the conversion of CO2 and H2O vapor over the IL-RGO/TiO2 catalyst. Under UV-Vis irradiation, CH4 was found to form after just 40 seconds of irradiation. The concentration of CH4 continuously increased under longer irradiation time. This research is particularly important since it seems to suggest the direct, selective formation of CH4 as opposed to CO.
It is estimated that wind induced soil transports more than 500 x 106 metric tons of fugitive dust annually. Soil erosion has negative effects on human health, the productivity of farms, and the quality of surface waters. A variety of different polymer stabilizers are available on the market for fugitive dust control. Most of these polymer stabilizers are expensive synthetic polymer products. Their adverse effects and expense usually limits their use. Biopolymers provide a potential alternative to synthetic polymers. They can provide dust abatement by encapsulating soil particles and creating a binding network throughout the treated area. This research into the effectiveness of biopolymers for fugitive dust control involved three phases. Phase I included proof of concept tests. Phase II included carrying out the tests in a wind tunnel. Phase III consisted of conducting the experiments in the field. Proof of concept tests showed that biopolymers have the potential to reduce soil erosion and fugitive dust transport. Wind tunnel tests on two candidate biopolymers, xanthan and chitosan, showed that there is a proportional relationship between biopolymer application rates and threshold wind velocities. The wind tunnel tests also showed that xanthan gum is more successful in the field than chitosan. The field tests showed that xanthan gum was effective at controlling soil erosion. However, the chitosan field data was inconsistent with the xanthan data and field data on bare soil.
This dissertation details an attempt to experimentally evaluate the Giroud et al. (1995) concentration factors for geomembranes loaded in tension perpendicular to a seam by laboratory measurement. Field observations of the performance of geomembrane liner systems indicates that tears occur at average strains well below the yield criteria. These observations have been attributed, in part, to localized strain concentrations in the geomembrane loaded in tension in a direction perpendicular to the seam. Giroud et al. (1995) has presented theoretical strain concentration factors for geomembrane seams loaded in tension when the seam is perpendicular to the applied tensile strain. However, these factors have never been verified. This dissertation was prepared in fulfillment of the requirements for graduation from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. The work described herein was sponsored by the National Science Foundation as a part of a larger research project entitled "NEESR: Performance Based Design of Geomembrane Liner Systems Subject to Extreme Loading." The work is motivated by geomembrane tears observed at the Chiquita Canyon landfill following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Numerical analysis of the strains in the Chiquita Canyon landfill liner induced by the earthquake indicated that the tensile strains, were well below the yield strain of the geomembrane material. In order to explain why the membrane did fail, strain concentration factors due to bending at seams perpendicular to the load in the model proposed by Giroud et al. (1995) had to be applied to the geomembrane (Arab, 2011). Due to the localized nature of seam strain concentrations, digital image correlation (DIC) was used. The high resolution attained with DIC had a sufficient resolution to capture the localized strain concentrations. High density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane samples prepared by a leading geomembrane manufacturer were used in the testing described herein. The samples included both extrusion fillet and dual hot wedge fusion seams. The samples were loaded in tension in a standard triaxial test apparatus. to the seams in the samples including both extrusion fillet and dual hot wedge seams. DIC was used to capture the deformation field and strain fields were subsequently created by computer analysis.
Up to 25 percent of the operating budget for contaminated site restoration projects is spent on site characterization, including long-term monitoring of contaminant concentrations. The sensitivity, selectivity, and reproducibility of analytical methods have improved to the point where sampling techniques bear the primary responsibility for the accuracy and precision of the data. Most samples represent discrete concentrations in time and space; with sampling points frequently limited in both dimensions, sparse data sets are heavily extrapolated and the quality of data further limited.
Methods are presented for characterizing contaminants in water (groundwater and surface waters) and indoor air. These techniques are integrative, providing information averaged over time and/or space, as opposed to instantaneous point measurements. Contaminants are concentrated from the environment, making these methods applicable to trace contaminants. These methods have the potential to complement existing techniques, providing the practitioner with opportunities to reduce costs and improve the quality of the data used in decision making.
A conceptual model for integrative sampling of environmental waters is developed and a literature review establishes an advantage in precision for active samplers. A programmable sampler was employed to measure the concentration of chromate in a shallow aquifer exhibiting time-dependent contaminant concentrations, providing a unique data set and sustainability benefits. The analysis of heat exchanger condensate, a waste stream generated by air conditioning, is demonstrated in a non-intrusive method for indoor air quality assessment. In sum, these studies present new opportunities for effective, sustainable environmental characterization.
Mitigation of earthquake-induced soil liquefaction via microbial denitrification: a two-stage process
The dissimilatory reduction of nitrate, or denitrification, offers the potential of a sustainable, cost effective method for the non-disruptive mitigation of earthquake-induced soil liquefaction. Worldwide, trillions of dollars of infrastructure are at risk for liquefaction damage in earthquake prone regions. However, most techniques for remediating liquefiable soils are either not applicable to sites near existing infrastructure, or are prohibitively expensive. Recently, laboratory studies have shown the potential for biogeotechnical soil improvement techniques such as microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) to mitigate liquefaction potential in a non-disruptive manner. Multiple microbial processes have been identified for MICP, but only two have been extensively studied. Ureolysis, the most commonly studied process for MICP, has been shown to quickly and efficiently induce carbonate precipitation on particle surfaces and at particle contacts to improve the stiffness, strength, and dilatant behavior of liquefiable soils. However, ureolysis also produces copious amounts of ammonium, a potentially toxic byproduct. The second process studied for MICP, denitrification, has been shown to precipitate carbonate, and hence improve soil properties, much more slowly than ureolysis. However, the byproducts of denitrification, nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas, are non-toxic, and present the added benefit of rapidly desaturating the treated soil. Small amounts of desaturation have been shown to increase the cyclic resistance, and hence the liquefaction resistance, of liquefiable soils. So, denitrification offers the potential to mitigate liquefaction as a two-stage process, with desaturation providing short term mitigation, and MICP providing long term liquefaction resistance. This study presents the results of soil testing, stoichiometric modeling, and microbial ecology characterization to better characterize the potential use of denitrification as a two-stage process for liquefaction mitigation.
The potential of using bio-geo-chemical processes for applications in geotechnical engineering has been widely explored in order to overcome the limitation of traditional ground improvement techniques. Biomineralization via urea hydrolysis, referred to as Microbial or Enzymatic Induced Carbonate Precipitation (MICP/EICP), has been shown to increase soil strength by stimulating precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals, bonding soil particles and filling the pores. Microbial Induced Desaturation and Precipitation (MIDP) via denitrification has also been studied for its potential to stabilize soils through mineral precipitation, but also through production of biogas, which can mitigate earthquake induced liquefaction by desaturation of the soil. Empirical relationships have been established, which relate the amount of products of these biochemical processes to the engineering properties of treated soils. However, these engineering properties may vary significantly depending on the biomineral and biogas formation mechanism and distribution patterns at pore-scale. This research focused on the pore-scale characterization of biomineral and biogas formations in porous media.
The pore-scale characteristics of calcium carbonate precipitation via EICP and biogenic gas formation via MIDP were explored by visual observation in a transparent porous media using a microfluidic chip. For this purpose, an imaging system was designed and image processing algorithms were developed to analyze the experimental images and detect the nucleation and growth of precipitated minerals and formation and migration mechanisms of gas bubbles within the microfluidic chip. Statistical analysis was performed based on the processed images to assess the evolution of biomineral size distribution, the number of precipitated minerals and the porosity reduction in time. The resulting images from the biomineralization study were used in a numerical simulation to investigate the relation between the mineral distribution, porosity-permeability relationships and process efficiency. By comparing biogenic gas production with abiotic gas production experiments, it was found that the gas formation significantly affects the gas distribution and resulting degree of saturation. The experimental results and image analysis provide insight in the kinetics of the precipitation and gas formation processes and their resulting distribution and related engineering properties.