Civil and Environmental Engineering Publications

Remediation of Trichloroethylene-Contaminated Soils by STAR Technology using Vegetable Oil Smoldering

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Journal of Hazardous Materials



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Self-sustaining treatment for active remediation (STAR) is an innovative soil remediation approach based on smoldering combustion that has been demonstrated to effectively destroy complex hydrocarbon nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) with minimal energy input. This is the first study to explore the smoldering remediation of sand contaminated by a volatile NAPL (trichloroethylene, TCE) and the first to consider utilizing vegetable oil as supplemental fuel for STAR. Thirty laboratory-scale experiments were conducted to evaluate the relationship between key outcomes (TCE destruction, rate of remediation) to initial conditions (vegetable oil type, oil: TCE mass ratio, neat versus emulsified oils). Several vegetable oils and emulsified vegetable oil formulations were shown to support remediation of TCE via self-sustaining smoldering. A minimum concentration of 14,000 mg/kg canola oil was found to treat sand exhibiting up to 80,000 mg/kg TCE. On average, 75% of the TCE mass was removed due to volatilization. This proof-of-concept study suggests that injection and smoldering of vegetable oil may provide a new alternative for driving volatile contaminants to traditional vapour extraction systems without supplying substantial external energy.



Salman, M., J.I. Gerhard, D. W. Major, P. Pironi, and RM. Hadden, 2015. Remediation of trichloroethylene-contaminated soils by STAR technology using vegetable oil smoldering. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 285: 346 – 355.

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