Environmental engineering researchers have developed a novel two-part approach for cleaning up toxic chlorinated solvents spilled into underground water supplies from former dry cleaning and industrial operations.
The patent-pending technique, which uses a macroemulsion composed of alcohol and food-grade surfactants, simultaneously reduces the density of the pollutant – to keep it from sinking farther into the groundwater – and helps separate it from soil particles so it can be flushed out. Known as "density modified displacement," the approach could cut the cost of environmental remediation by reducing both the time required for clean up and the amount of contaminated effluent that must be treated.
The technique was reported in the August 15 online version of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, and will be published in the journals September 15th print issue. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan and the University of Oklahoma participated in the research, which was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
John Toon | EurekAlert!
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