Joint effort launched to evaluate remediation technologies

The US EPA, the Department of Energy, the US Air Force and NASA are joining forces to evaluate two new technologies for the clean up of the sources for dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), which cause ground water contamination.

The agreement, signed on April 6, establishes the Interagency DNAPL Consortium to evaluate and to compare the cost and performance of two in-situ remediation technologies: thermal removal and oxidation destruction. The technologies will be demonstrated at a solvent spill at a former launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

This comparison is expected to provide information to site remediation managers concerning the performance of these technologies. This, the EPA says, will increase the use of more efficient and innovative remediation technologies.

DNAPLs represent a major environmental problem at many federal and private industry facilities. DNAPL chemicals, particularly, chlorinated solvents, are among the most common of environmental contamination problems.

Chlorinated solvents, used for metal cleaning and degreasing of precision equipment, electronics and heavy machinery were released into the environment in massive quantities between 1950 and the early 1980s. When spilled on the ground, these solvents tend to migrate downward and accumulate below the water table, making them difficult to clean up.

The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the federal government will spend billions of dollars on environmental remediation of DNAPL contamination. While various DNAPL remediation, characterization and monitoring technologies have been demonstrated in the past, there have been difficulties in making meaningful comparisons.

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