June 06

Soil Vapor Extraction Without all the Fuss

An environmental cleanup can be quite the undertaking, and at times, can get a little noisy. This could be troublesome if the job is in an already existing residential or business area. You don’t want to bother anyone, but you also have to clean up the hazardous chemical. Sometimes the best options for a Site remediation just don’t jibe with the surrounding area. That’s where EnviroForensics’ experience with custom remedial engineering comes into play.

A common method for pulling potentially harmful chemicals out of impacted soil is the implementation of a soil vapor extraction system (SVE). This specially designed contraption induces airflow through the pore spaces in the impacted soils, converting volatile contaminants into the vapor phase, and removing them from the soil.

Unfortunately, many “off-the-shelf” systems of this type are large, bulky, and loud, which mPic_SVE_Blogay cause complaints from nearby residents or interfere with business operations at the cleanup site.

EnviroForensics recently designed, assembled, and began operation of a custom SVE system (pictured above) at a site contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) from historical dry cleaning activities. The assignment was complex to say the least; the contamination had reached the sandstone bedrock, deep below ground surface (SVE systems aren’t normally used in bedrock applications), and the client needed a system that would be quiet, compact, and cost-effective.

EnviroForensics’ expert engineers rose to these challenges and designed a custom SVE system that not only fit within a small portion of an un-used garage in the client’s building, but also was quiet enough to hold casual conversations within feet of the operating blowers. The system is also fully automated, which allows for remote performance evaluation and adjustment without mobilizing to the Site, resulting in significant cost savings to the project.  The system built by EnviroForensics is robust yet adaptable, thereby allowing it to provide maximum contaminant removal within all portions of the variable subsurface geologic materials. The net result is an effective bedrock remediation system that is hardly noticeable to employees or the surrounding community. Within the weeks since the system was turned on, hundreds of pounds of PCE have been removed from the underlying bedrock. The regulators, the community, and our client are pleased.