Penetration of Clay Soils by Chlorinated Solvents

Fine-grained sediments are typically thought to prevent the migration of non-aqueous phase liquids. However, high concentrations of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene were found in a clay unit below an unlined settling basin at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. To help understand these observations, experiments with clay cores collected at the site were performed to assess the potential for solvent liquid penetration into the clay. Cores collected from a clay outcrop at the site were subjected to tetrachloroethylene, and the migration into saturated cores and cores at field conditions was assessed after three, five, and eight weeks of exposure. Results indicate that an organic solvent can migrate into the clay under field conditions. Heterogeneities within the clay unit seem to govern this migration.

Related Publications

Reeves, H.W., Lough, K.A., and Goni, M.A., "An Experimental Investigation of Organic Solvent Infiltration into a Natural Clay," Proceedings of the Fourth Great Lakes Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Conference: In-Situ Remediation of Contaminated Sites, Edited by K.R. Reddy, The University of Illinois at Chicago, 1996.
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