Surfactant flushing with intermittent air injection, referred to as enhanced flushing, has been proposed at a site in Korea contaminated by military activity to overcome the difficulty of treatment caused by a layered geological structure. In this study, we developed a simple numerical model for exploring the effects of various physical and chemical processes associated with enhanced flushing on pollutant removal efficiency and applied it in a field-scale test. This simple numerical model considers only enhanced hydraulic conductivity rather than all of the interacting parameters associated with the complex chemical and physical processes related to air and surfactant behavior during enhanced flushing treatment. In the numerical experiment, the removal efficiency of residual non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) was approximately 12% greater with enhanced, rather than conventional, flushing because the hydraulic conductivity of the low-permeability layer was enhanced 5-fold, thus accelerating surfactant transport in the low-permeability layer and facilitating enhanced dissolution of residual NAPL. To test whether the enhanced flushing method is superior to conventional flushing, as observed in the field-scale test, successive soil flushing operations were simulated using the newly developed model, and the results were compared to field data. Overall, the simulation results aligned well with the field data.
- Air injection
- Enhanced flushing
- Enhancement of hydraulic conductivity
- Residual NAPL
- Simple numerical modeling