Applying short-duration pulses as a mean to enhance volatile organic compounds removal by air sparging

Asaf Ben Neriah, Amir Paster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Application of short-duration pulses of high air pressure, to an air sparging system for groundwater remediation, was tested in a two-dimensional laboratory setup. It was hypothesized that this injection mode, termed boxcar, can enhance the remediation efficiency due to the larger ZOI and enhanced mixing which results from the pressure pulses. To test this hypothesis, flow and transport experiments were performed. Results confirm that cyclically applying short-duration pressure pulses may enhance contaminant cleanup. Comparing the boxcar to conventional continuous air-injection shows up to a three-fold increase in the single well radius of influence, dependent on the intensity of the short-duration pressure-pulses. The cleanup efficiency of Toluene from the water was 95% higher than that achieved under continuous injection with the same average conditions. This improvement was attributed to the larger zone of influence and higher average air permeability achieved in the boxcar mode, relative to continuous sparging. Mixing enhancement resultant from recurring pressure pulses was suggested as one of the mechanisms which enhance the contaminant cleanup. The application of a boxcar mode in an existing, multiwell, air sparging setup can be relatively straightforward: it requires the installation of an on-off valve in each of the injection-wells and a central control system. Then, turning off some of the wells, for a short-duration, result in a stepwise increase in injection pressure in the rest of the wells. It is hoped that this work will stimulate the additional required research and ultimately a field scale application of this new injection mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
StatePublished - 2017


  • Air sparging
  • Groundwater
  • Hydrology
  • Remediation


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