Quantifying the benefits of in-time and in-place responses to remediate acute LNAPL release incidents
Journal of Environmental Management
School of Engineering
Acute large volume spills from storage tanks of petroleum hydrocarbons as light non aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) can contaminate soil and groundwater and may have the potential to pose explosive and other risks. In consideration of an acute LNAPL release scenario, we explore the value of a rapid remediation response, and the value of installing remediation infrastructure in close proximity to the spill location, in effecting greater recovery of LNAPL mass from the subsurface. For the first time, a verified three-dimensional multi-phase numerical framework and supercomputing resources was applied to explore the significance of in-time and in-place remediation actions. A sand aquifer, two release volumes and a low viscosity LNAPL were considered in key scenarios. The time of commencement of LNAPL remediation activities and the location of recovery wells were assessed requiring asymmetric computational considerations. The volume of LNAPL released considerably affected the depth of LNAPL penetration below the groundwater table, the radius of the plume over time and the recoverable LNAPL mass. The remediation efficiency was almost linearly correlated with the commencement time, but was a non-linear function of the distance of an extraction well from the spill release point. The ratio of the recovered LNAPL in a well located at the centre of the spill/release compared to a well located 5 m away was more than 3.5, for recovery starting only 7 days after the release. Early commencement of remediation with a recovery well located at the centre of the plume was estimated to recover 190 times more LNAPL mass than a one-month delayed commencement through a well 15 m away from the centre of the LNAPL plume. Optimally, nearly 40% of the initially released LNAPL could be recovered within two months of commencing LNAPL recovery actions.
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Lari, K. S., King, A., Rayner, J. L., & Davis, G. B. (2021). Quantifying the benefits of in-time and in-place responses to remediate acute LNAPL release incidents. Journal of Environmental Management, 287, article 112356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112356