Cleaning up pollution disasters is big business. By 2019, the cost of remediating polluted sites will grow to more than $80 billion. So, should remediation of contaminated sites be undertaken by the traditional mass transfer method or should new less expensive and more effective in-situ solutions become the norm?
Erkki Lindberg, CTO of Eko Harden Technologies, releases this industry statement
According to the European Environment Agency, there could be as many as 2.5 million potentially contaminated sites requiring investigation across Europe. Of these, approximately 340 000 sites are expected to be contaminated and likely to require remediation.
In the United States, some 80 percent of hazardous waste sites have contaminated groundwater. Conventionally, the treatment of contaminated groundwater is done by extracting the contaminated water, treating it above ground, and reinjecting or discharging the clean water (“pump-and-treat”). The extracted contaminants are dumped elsewhere.
In Africa, one of the world’s most oil-polluted regions is the Niger delta and oil spills have affected all its swamps, creeks, fishing grounds and mangroves. It will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars for the site to be brought back to its original condition.
Pollution is indeed big business and global.
… relocating pollution
Traditional land remediation is the mass transfer method … huge diggers coming to a site to excavate polluted soil with trucks, sometimes hundreds of them, transporting the contaminated soil to another location. In other words, relocating the pollution.
As we approach a New Year, it’s timely to ask … is this method to remain the norm in 2018? Many environmentalists now believe that the dig and dump method has seen its day and many more join their call to reduce mass transfer every day.
But the drivers are not only about environmental issues. The planet needs to move to in-situ bio-remediation technologies. Not only are they less expensive, but they are more effective and environmentally more friendly to humans, animals and vegetation.
Several in-situ bioremediation technologies exist including chemical oxidation and electrokinetic oxidation. The drawbacks of chemical oxidation are high costs and ineffectiveness in environments where there are substances that chemicals or solutions cannot penetrate.
EKOGRID electro kinetic oxidation technology uses pulse form weak electric fields to deploy oxidative compounds to soil surfaces and especially to fine textured soils. Due to its low voltage and low energy consumption, the technology is not harmful to other biota living in the soil, unlike in-situ chemical oxidation or thermal treatment.
One example of the effectiveness of EKOGRID technology is an in-situ project at a former above-the-ground storage tank site in Finland. It proved a cost-efficient and environment-friendly way of cleaning up abandoned storage tank sites.
After completion of the EKOGRID remediation process, the need for excavation and dump and replacement soil was reduced by 90% from a total of 15,000 cubic meters to just 1,500 cubic meters. Compared with traditional mass transfer, the site owners saved themselves an estimated Euros one million by choosing EKOGRID.
EKOGRID electro kinetic oxidation is a leap forward from traditional electrokinetics as it generates oxygen and radicals out of water on soil surfaces between the electrodes and can be combined with optimized electro-osmotic nutrient input to reach soils and organic compounds previously considered impossible to remediate in-situ.
So, will 2018 see in-situ electro kinetic oxidation of soil, groundwater, and sediments become the norm for resolving many of the planets pollution problems? Environmental concerns and cost are the drivers that could very well see the mass rollout of EKOGRID technology.
In-situ Remediation Examples
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Learn more about EKOGRID electrokinetic oxidation in-situ remediation for soil, groundwater, and sediments.
About the Author
Erkki Lindberg is Chief Technology Officer, Co-Founder, General Partner and Chairman of the Board at Eko Harden Technologies, the cleantech innovator company providing the EKOGRID in-situ remediation solution for fast, environment-friendly and cost-efficient cleaning of polluted soil, ground-water, and sediment. Lindberg has broad international industry experience as a troubleshooter in the oil, petrochemical, marine and energy industries.