Soil Vapor Extraction – An Environmental Remediation Technology

Environmental remediation can be a particularly tough subject to pin down. It is an extensive field, and not many people know, or even care to know, about it. Look, how many of your real life friends are familiar with the term “environmental remediation”? Some? A few? None? I’d go with the latter.

Environmental remediation is important because it directly affects our treatment of our natural surroundings. It is the branch of science that deals with the removal of contaminants or pollution from environmental media such as surface water, sediment, groundwater and soil. For what? For the general protection and benefit of human health.

Remediation is a widely practiced principle around the world under various government agencies, each with their own series of regulatory requirements and precautions.

Some of the most common and well-known environmental remediation technologies are dredging and excavation, SEAR or surfactant enhanced aquifer remediation, pump and treat, stabilization and solidification, in situ oxidation, and others like bioremediation.

One of the most complex and sophisticated type of environmental remediation is the soil vapor extraction, or SVE.

Soild Vapor Extraction

Soil vapor extraction is a type of remediation technology used for treating contaminated soil, as its name implies. Another similar but different type of remediation technology is the MPE or Multi-Phase Extraction, which is used for treating soil and groundwater but different from SVE in that both methods utilizes different types of technologies.

Soil vapor extraction is broken up into three different types:

1. Granular activated carbon – Granular activated carbon (or GAC) is a technology used as a filter for water or air. GACs are commonly seen in household sinks used for filtering tap water. It is not effective in filtering heavy metals from the water, though.

2. Thermal oxidation – Thermal oxidation is another kind of technology, yet also effective. But this approach has since proven controversial since it releases dioxins into the atmosphere as exhaust gas.

3. Vapor condensation – Vapor condensation is considered the most effective type of treatment technology around (off-gas) for high concentration vapor streams. This technology is also sometimes called cryogenic cooling and compression.

Soil vapor extraction is one of the more complex type of environmental remediation technologies around, but it also means it’s one of the most effective. It is a technology carried out by experts on the field, environmental remediation engineers and scientists, and if you have reason to doubt the contamination level of your soil, it’s best to contact your local agency to conduct a test on your property.

Leave a Reply