Cost-Effective Design of a Treatment System for Cleaning Up Soils and Ground Water Contaminated with Petroleum Hydrocarbons
Arniella, Elio F.
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Today, it is not uncommon to drive around your neighborhood and notice that the comer gasoline station is out of service for several days for replacement of underground tanks. In fact, leaking underground tanks are responsible for contaminating the ground water supplies of many communities in the United States. What was a common practice in previous decades -- burying a single wall steel tank that is exposed to corrosion -- is becoming a major liability to an industry that depends on the use and underground storage of petroleum hydrocarbons. This paper presents general soil remediation technologies and includes a case study of a cost-effective design of a remediation project in Georgia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that three to five million underground storage tanks (UST) are used in the nation for storing petroleum hydrocarbons and chemical substances. Estimates indicate that a large quantity of these tanks, 100,000 to 400,000, may be leaking petroleum hydrocarbons (U.S. EPA /0530 /UST-88/001). Releases from UST can result in the contamination of subsurface soils, migration of toxic and explosive vapors, and pollution of surface and ground waters. The degree of contamination and human health and environmental exposure depends on: (1) the amount of fuel released; (2) the chemical and physical properties of the material; (3) the hydrogeologic conditions of the site and resulting migration patterns; and (4) the levels of exposure to potential receptors.