LNAPL Recovery Endpoints: Lessons Learnt Through Modeling, Experiments, and Field Trials
Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation
National Ground Water Association
School of Engineering
© 2020, The Author(s). Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation © 2020, National Ground Water Association It is important to estimate what light nonaqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) recovery can be practicably achieved from subsurface environments. Over the last decade, research to address this included a broad field program, laboratory measurements and experimentation, and modeling approaches. Here, we consolidate key findings from the research in the context of current literature and understanding, with a focus on a well-validated, multiphase multicomponent modeling approach to achieve estimates of reasonable endpoints for LNAPL recovery. Simple analytical models can provide approximate saturation distributions and estimates of LNAPL recoverability via transmissivity approximation, but are insufficient to predict LNAPL saturation- and composition-based recovery endpoints for various recovery technologies. This is because they cannot account for multiphase, multicomponent fate and transport and key processes such as hysteresis. Recent advances to improve estimates of the fraction of recoverable LNAPL and its transmissivity are summarized. These advances include further development and application of a well-validated model to characterize active LNAPL recovery endpoints. We present key factors that affect the determination of LNAPL recovery endpoints, and outline how recovery endpoints are affected by natural source zone depletion (NSZD—currently gaining acceptance as a LNAPL remediation option). Major factors include geo-physical characteristics of the formation, magnitude of an LNAPL release and partitioning properties of the key LNAPL constituents of concern. Based on the capabilities of the validated model, the paper also provides a basis to optimize LNAPL recovery efforts.