Graduate research is being conducted in the area of soil remediation technology. Emphasis is on soil vapour extraction (SVE) and bioventing to obtain a better understanding of the processes affecting both technologies with respect to the remediation of soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbon...
Graduate research is being conducted in the area of soil remediation technology. Emphasis is on soil vapour extraction (SVE) and bioventing to obtain a better understanding of the processes affecting both technologies with respect to the remediation of soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. A primary objective is to determine scale-up factors for transferring laboratory results to the field. Modelling SVE and bioventing in a three dimensional setting is also a long term objective. The SVE and bioventing projects are being completed in collaboration with an Industrial Partner, where access to site field data is provided, as better the data, more realistic the predictions.
In order to determine scale-up factors, a variety of laboratory scale experiments are being conducted. The SVE experiments allow determination of mass transfer parameters and diffusion coefficients as related to SVE. The bioventing studies allow determination of nutrient requirements for optimum biodegradation and the corresponding biodegradation kinetic rate. Progress is being made on evaluating an overall correlation that can estimate degradation coefficient for different operating conditions. Also being studied is the most effective delivery method for nutrients into the subsurface.
Ultimately, an effective predictive model will be developed that can be used to design optimal SVE and bioventing systems. The three dimensional SVE model can be used to determine the optimal time to shut down the SVE system and convert to a bioventing operation. The three dimensional bioventing model can then be used to estimate how long it will take to remediate the site to contaminant levels acceptable to regulatory requirements. Both models can be valuable design tools, resulting in cleaner sites at a lower cost.
Additional research is also being conducted in the wastewater sector. One involves membrane technology. This research is completed in collaboration with the University of Aachen (Germany), Zenon Environmental Ltd, and the City of Guelph. Emphasis is on the ability of membranes to remove nutrients from wastewater and ways of reducing their fouling tendencies. The other area is the improvement of the sludge digestion process to make it more efficient.