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Content archived on 2024-05-21

On-site remediation of ground water contaminated by polar organic compounds using novel adsorption technology


Problems to be solved
Groundwater is the main source for drinking water production in most regions of Europe. In many areas this groundwater is contaminated by a variety of mainly organic pollutants threatening the drinking water supply in the future. Existing methods for remediation of groundwater have limitations and disadvantages, in particular, when used on-site. In general, very polar compounds have not been removed by these techniques.
Scientific objectives and approach
A novel technology will be developed which allows the removal of organic contaminants from polluted groundwater. Groundwater clean up is achieved by adsorption of the pollutants onto organic polymers of small particle size packed in radial beds. The surface of the polymer particles will be modified to reduce pore plugging. After loading with pollutants the polymers can be regenerated on-site. Explosives and phenols have been selected as model compounds to test this new technology. Contamination by these compounds is widespread in Europe. Moreover, they are representative for polar compounds in general, which are difficult to remove from groundwater. The project starts with laboratory studies on the adsorption process (determination of adsorption isotherms and breakthrough volumes) followed by laboratory studies on the regeneration process. Based on the results of laboratory studies mathematical simulation models will be developed which allow the design and finally the construction of the pilot plant. In the final part of the project this pilot plant with a capacity of 1 - 3 m³/h will be tested in the field and further optimized.
Expected impacts
It is expected that the new technology allow an efficient remediation of polluted groundwater also in remote areas, as one means to ensure the sustainability of groundwater into the next century. Thus the project contributes to the goal to maintain the quality of life and health in the European Community. Finally, the clean up of contaminated groundwater preserves and enhances the quality of the environment in general and the availability of natural resources.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Total cost
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Participants (2)