Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1997

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Basil Baltzis

Second Advisor

Piero M. Armenante

Third Advisor

Dana E. Knox


In this study experiments were performed in order to show feasibility of an integrated air sparging/biofiltration process for cleaning contaminated groundwater. Feasibility was also meant in the sense of meeting regulatory constraints. Using toluene as model compound and changing flowrates for the sparged air, it was shown that despite fluctuations in the toluene concentration at the inlet of the biofilter, the concentrations at the outlet of the unit were essentially constant over long periods of time and remained below the levels dictated by environmental regulations. However an increase in outlet concentrations at levels not meeting regulatory constraints was observed after the first phases of the process. This failure is attributed to poor moisture control in the biofilter bed.

Experiments with the air sparging process alone, aiming at describing the distribution of the pollutant between contaminated water and air sparged through it showed that this distribution is a function of the pollutant concentration in the water and the residence time of the sparged air in the water reservoir. However, efforts to model and mathematically describe this distribution have failed and led to no significant conclusions.



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