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NSP

The Netherlands Soil Partnership (NSP) was initiated by a group of Dutch consultants,
suppliers of technology and contractors companies which have expertise in the field
of soil remediation technologies and management. In order to offer a full scale and
integrated solution for all soil and groundwater problems, specialized companies are
working closely together with Dutch institutions for soil remediation and universities.
They are also supported by the Dutch ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM), the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) and the
Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ). NSP was officially established on the 9th of July 2008
in Den Haag, the Netherlands.

P.O. Box 420


2800 AK Gouda
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 (0)182 54 06 90
Fax +31 (0)182 54 06 91
programmabureau@skbodem.nl
www.skbodem.nl

Oil in the soil

SKB Cahiers
SKB Cahiers are handbooks that contain summarised and concise descriptions of important subjects relating to soil. The SKB Handbooks are aimed at a wide audience and are
written in a readable and accessible manner. It must be possible for readers to use the
subject in their profession on the basis of application-oriented practical examples.

SKB Cahier

SKB
The Netherlands Centre for Soil Quality Management and Knowledge transfer (SKB)
develops and transfers the knowledge that owners and managers of plots and land
require in order to improve or maintain the quality of the soil that is appropriate for
the envisaged purpose in an effective manner. SKB supports the development and
demonstration of new forms of cooperation, new approaches and methods for the
improvement of the harmonisation between soil use and soil quality and promotes
their broad-based social acceptance in society.

Oil in the soil

Methods table
Individual remediation methods

Suitable for removal


of high or low concentrations/loads?

Suitable for
source or
plume
approach

Suitable for
floating layer
removal?

Saturated, lubrication zone or unsaturated zone?

Suitable for which


types of oil?

Experience level in
the Netherlands?

Duration of
remediation?

Space occupied?

Intensity/costs of
Impact on
the method per m surroundings
of soil treated?
and/or business
process?

Soil types?

Safety aspects?

Bulk removal of high


concentrations

Source area

Yes

All three zones

All types

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Short, several months

No, or only limited installations


needed

Limited

High

No restrictions

Monitor evaporation into the


surroundings

Soil air extraction

Bulk removal, high


concentrations

Source
approach

No

Unsaturated zone

BTEX and lighter oil


fractions to C12-C14

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially in highly
permeable soils

Compressed air injection

Bulk removal, high


concentrations

Source
approach

No

Saturated &
Lubrication zone

BTEX and lighter oil


fractions to C12-C14

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially in highly
permeable soils

Control evaporation to
ground level

Groundwater extraction
and/or infiltration

Removal of dissolved,
lower concentrations

Plume
approach

No

Saturated zone, for all


deeper groundwater

All types

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially in highly
permeable soils

GWZI may be required

Multiple phase extraction

Bulk removal, high


concentrations

Source
approach

Yes

All three zones, especially


shallow groundwater

All types

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system High


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially in highly
permeable soils

Extraction can generate Ex zone,


LZI may be required

Electroreclamation

Bulk removal, high


concentrations
Bulk removal, high
concentrations

Source
approach
Source
approach

No

Saturated zone, especially


shallower groundwater

All three zones

Moderate, more than 25


sites, less than 3 contractors
Low, less than 5 sites, less
than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years
Short, several months

Semi permanent above-ground system High


needed, included air purification

Yes

BTEX, lighter and


heavier oil fractions
BTEX, lighter and
heavier oil fractions

Semi permanent above-ground system High


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible
Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially in highly
permeable soils
Especially in highly
permeable soils

Extraction can generate Ex zone,


LZI may be required
Extraction can generate Ex zone,
LZI may be required

Bulk removal, high


concentrations

Source
approach

No

Unsaturated zone

BTEX, lighter and


heavier oil fractions

Low, less than 5 sites, less


than 3 contractors

Short, several months

Semi permanent above-ground system High


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Also suitable for less


permeable soils (clay &
loam)

Extraction can generate Ex zone,


LZI may be required

Aerobic degradation Bioventing

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area

No

Unsaturated zone

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially highly
permeable sandy soils

LZI may be required

Compressed air injection


or air sparging

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area

No

Saturated zone

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially highly
permeable sandy soils

Injection of pure oxygen,


e.g. ISOC

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area

No

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Limited

Especially highly
permeable sandy soils

Control evaporation to ground


level
-

Multiple phase extraction

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations
Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area
Source &
plume area

No

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16
BTEX and oil fractions
to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors
High, more than 25 sites,
more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years
Long, several months
to years

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Initial moderate,
feasible
Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially highly
permeable sandy soils
Especially highly
permeable sandy soils

Extraction may generate Ex zone,


LZI may be required
GWZI may be required

Regular injection (shock


load) of ORC, salts that
supply oxygen and/or of
nutrients

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area

No

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

One-time injection. Only extremely


temporary injection on site

Low

Limited

Also suitable for less


permeable soils (clay &
loam)

Anaerobic

Regular (shock load) or
degradation
continuous injection of
nitrates, sulphates and/or
nutrients

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Source &
plume area

No

BTEX

Medium, 5 - 25 sites

Long, several months


to years

One-time injection. Only extremely


temporary injection on site

Low

Limited

Also suitable for less


permeable soils (clay &
loam)

High remnant concentrations


of nitrates/sulphates in the
groundwater

Oxidative Wet chemical oxidation


with the use of Fentons
Reagents

Bulk removal, high


concentrations

Source area

No

Saturated zone

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Short, 3 - 6 months

Regular injection. Only occasional


temporary injection equipment
on site

High

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially suitable for better/


moderately permeable sandy
soils. Not suitable for peat

Extraction may generate Ex zone,


LZI may be required. Temperature
& checking water level

Continuous injection of
ozone, possibly in combination with hydrogen peroxide

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Plume area

No

Saturated zone Ozone: BTEX and oil fractions


possibly unsaturated
to C16
zone

High, more than 25 sites,


more than 3 contractors

Long, several months


to years

Semi permanent above-ground


system needed, included air
purification

Moderate

Initial moderate,
feasible

Especially suitable for better/


moderately permeable sandy
soils. Not suitable for peat

Extraction may generate Ex zone,


LZI may be necessary

Injection of sodium or
potassium

Removal dissolved,
lower concentrations

Plume area

No

Saturated zone

Medium, 5 - 25 sites

Short, 3 - 6 months

Regular injection. Only occasional


temporary injection equipment
on site

Moderate

Limited

Especially suitable for better/


moderately permeable sandy
soils. Not suitable for peat

Excavation

Extractive
remediation

Steam Stimulated
extraction
Six Phase Heating

Biological
remediation

Groundwater extraction
and infiltration of nutrients

Chemical
remediation

BTEX and oil fractions


to C16

Semi permanent above-ground system Low


needed, included air purification

Cahier

Remediation
method

Dealing
with
soil

Oil in the soil

Oil in
the soil

Contents
Introduction and preamble

1.



What is oil?
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Crude oil
1.3 Refining
1.4 Composition

9
9
10
10
11

2.





Behaviour and spreading


2.1 Introduction
2.2 Behaviour of oil in the soil
2.3 Floating layers
2.4 The source
2.5 The plume
2.6 Dissolved product

15
15
15
17
18
19
20

Intermezzo: Care for health

21

3. Risks
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Exposure risks

3.2.1 Evaluation of exposure risks

3.2.2 Evaluation of risks for humans with

the fraction approach

3.2.3 Odours

3.2.4 Consequences

3.2.5 Risks for the ecosystem

3.2.6 Summary
3.3 Damage
3.4 Danger of fire and explosions

25
25
25
25
26
28
28
29
29
29
30

Intermezzo: The Saturday afternoon remediation

32

4. Research strategies
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Research goals
4.3 Conventional research methods

4.3.1 Historical research

4.3.2 Conventional research
4.4 Follow-up research on the source zone and plume

4.4.1 Conventional methods

4.4.2 New methods
4.5 Age and origins of oil contaminations

37
37
38
39
39
40
46
46
48
49

Intermezzo: Site Konijnenberg 45 in Breda

52

5. Remediation methods
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Realistic remediation goals
5.3 General remediation goals

5.3.1 Excavation

5.3.2 Physical, extractive remediations

5.3.3 Biological remediation

5.3.4 Chemical remediation
5.4 Individual remediation methods

5.4.1 Classic groundwater extraction

and/or infiltration

5.4.2 Soil air extraction

5.4.3 Multiple Phase Extraction (MPE)

5.4.4 Compressed air injection (in-situ stripping)

5.4.5 Stimulation of aerobic degradation:

regular of shock load injections

5.4.6 Auxiliary method: heat (electroreclamation)

5.4.7 Auxiliary method: surfactants

5.4.8 Steam-stimulated extraction

57
57
59
61
61
62
63
64
64
65
67
68
70
71
73
73
73

Oil in the soil






5.5
5.6

5.4.9 Six Phase heating


5.4.10 Chemical oxidation with Fentons reagents
5.4.11 Chemical oxidation with ozone and perozone
5.4.12 Chemical oxidation with permanganate
Important technical points of attention
Remediation period

74
74
75
75
76
77

Intermezzo: Risks between Africa and Assen

78

6.




83
83
83
83
83
85

Finances
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Source remediation
6.3 Plume or remnant remediation
6.4 Highly cost-determining factors
6.5 Risks of failure

7. Summary and conclusions

86

8. Appendices

88

Introduction and preamble


Oil in the soil has two associations:
the natural resource that is extracted on a large scale for
use as fuel
the undesired contamination that poses a threat to public
health and must be remediated.
The second of these associations is the core issue in this
handbook.
Although everyone believes that they know what oil in the soil means,
a definition of the term oil and an explanation of its behaviour and
spreading is not an unnecessary luxury. Chapter 1 and 2 discuss these
subjects. Oil in the soil creates risks, for humans and also for the environment of plants and animals. Chapter 3 discusses the backgrounds
and types of risks. Research is required before we can take concrete
action in the form of soil remediation. Research on the nature, scope
and properties of the contamination. Chapter 4 discusses the necessary
research questions and possible research methods. This information
is used to deploy the most efficient and effective remediation method.
Chapter 5 contains on overview of the various remediation options on
the basis of the SKB method fan. Remediation costs money. Unit prices
for remediation methods are difficult to provide. Nevertheless, chapter
6 contains several rules of thumb.
Intermezzos are included between the main texts. These intermezzos
consist of interviews with people and practical implementations. The
interviews form a cross-section of these varied and versatile implementations. The main theme is formed by risk perception and risk
experience. Both minor and major players in the market have their say
- from health experts, garage owners and amateur remediators to and
including multinationals.
For the sake of readability and clarity the appendices contain an overview of the diagrams and tables, an explanatory word list and literature
and web site references.

Oil in the soil

What is oil?
1.1. Introduction
Speak about oil and everyone knows what you are talking about. Everybody has an image of what oil is. The term is much more difficult
when it comes to an exact definition. Besides the definition problem,
it also seems that the complex behaviour of oil is underestimated.
The same applies to soil contamination with oil. They also behave
in a manner that is much more complicated than is often assumed.
In contrast to many other contaminations, oil is a mixture of more
than 1000 different substances. These substances consist primarily
of hydrocarbon compounds. Hydrocarbons are chemical substances
that consist exclusively of carbon (C) and hydrogen atoms (H). The
hydrocarbon compounds can be chain and ring compounds (see
diagram 1).
Despite this complexity, policy frequently handles and expresses oil as
a singular substance with unambiguous properties in the mineral oil
parameter (this being - C10- C 40). According to NEN 5733 (1997), oil
is: compounds that can be isolated with acetone/petroleum ether under the conditions of this standard and that can be chromatographed
with retention periods between the retention period of n-decane
(C10H22) and n-tetracontane (C 40H82).

Penthane

Benzene

Diagram 1: Hydrocarbon compounds as they occur in oil.

SKB

Cahier

The parameter mineral oil (this being - C10 - C 40) only indicates the
quantity of oil. And it is not even complete in this. Only 10-20% of the
actual content of contaminations that consist largely of components
<C10 (such as a benzene and petroleum contamination) is covered
by the mineral oil analysis. This means 80 to 90% of benzene is not
detected in a mineral oil analysis. This can have major consequences.
When determining the risks, the most volatile substances and thereby
the substances with the greatest risk of exposure (see chapter 3) are
forgotten. For example, an activated carbon filter may fill up much
faster during a remediation than was estimated in beforehand.
Oil is not a substance such as e.g. lead, but a complex mixture. This
has major consequences for the entire soil remediation process, from
the very first preliminary study, the determination of the risks and
the remediation goal to and including the remediation method.
1.2 Crude oil
There are more than three hundred different types of mineral oil in
the world. Mineral oil or crude oil consists of hydrocarbons with
chain and ring compounds varying from 5 to more than 50 carbon
atoms. It also contains substances such as heavy metals and phosphor
compounds.
1.3 Refining
In The Netherlands, approximately 150 million litres of mineral oil
is imported every day. This oil is processed into usable oil products
in the refineries. Refining is a method of separating crude oil into
different oil products. The refining process produces a wide range of
products on the basis of the different types of mineral oil. The most
important process here is distillation. This is the separation of substances on the basis of differences in boiling point. The crude mineral
oil is separated into usable products such as LPG, benzene, kerosene
and diesel.

Oil in the soil

converted and/or cracked into substances for which there is more


demand.
The process (refining and cracking) thereby creates various usable
products. Besides the fuels, raw materials are produced for the manufacturing of plastics, paints, solvents, lubricating oil and other chemical substances such as phenols. Another by-product of refining is tar.
1.4 Composition
Soil contamination with oil is usually defined as the total content
being mineral oil (C10 - C 40), possibly supplemented with BTEX
and PAH. In order to gain an impression of the composition, the
sum parameter mineral oil (C10 - C 40) is further sub-divided into
carbon fractions, such as the fraction C10 - C12. In addition, increasing use is being made of the fraction approach of TPHCWG and the
RIVM. This divides the oil into aliphatic and aromatic fractions. The
division into aliphatic and aromatic fractions is appropriate to the
proposed reviewed intervention values (RIVM, 2001). his division is
an improvement in relation to one intervention value for mineral oil.
It also takes account of the fact that there are oil and oil types that
consist partially of fractions <C10. The PAH and BTEX are part of the
aromatic fraction in this sub-division.
The composition of each of the products is different.
Table 1 shows the overall composition of several well known oil
products.

The ratio of the products after distillation does not correspond with
current market demands. For example, more fuel oil remains after
distillation than can be sold on the market. This is why fuel oil is

10

11

SKB

Cahier

Oil in the soil

Table 1
Composition of several oil products according to carbon fractions
(CONCAWE/TPH)
Product

Boiling point range

Range

<C10

C10-C40

24 - 140
38 - 205
150 - 300
150 - 290
125 - 390
160 - 400
170 - 420
316 - 470

C5 - C15
C4 - C12
C9 - C17
C9 - C16
C8 - C24
C9 - C25
C10 - C30
C18 - C34

99%
80%
15%
15%
6%
5%
0%
0%

1%
20%
85%
85%
94%
95%
100%
100%

Paraffin
Benzene
Petroleum
Kerosene (Jet A)
Gas oil *
Diesel

Domestic fuel oil

Marine diesel
Motor oil

Paraffins: Saturated hydrocarbons.


Naphthenes: Saturated cyclic hydrocarbons.
Alkenes: Non cyclical or cyclical hydrocarbons with minimal and
double bonding.
Besides the division into fractions (carbon, aromatic and aliphatic)
and substances (BTEX and PAH) above, substances are added to oil
products in order to improve the properties of the fuel. One of the
most well known substances is the MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl
ether) in benzene. This type of substance was only partially included
in the analyses carried out for the abovementioned categorisations. If
necessary, specific analyses can be carried out for these substances.

For the majority of products it applies that the composition and the
range are highly dependent on the manner in which they are produced. For example, the composition of benzene and diesel will be
highly dependent on the production method. Only refining produces
a different diesel to e.g. refining and cracking. To illustrate, table 2
shows the composition of diesel as a consequence of different production processes.
Table 2
Composition of diesel as a consequence of different
production processes (API, 1997)

Boiling point-
Share (mass percentage)

range
Process
Paraffins Naphthenes Alkenes Aromatics
Desulphurised
Middle distillate 1
Desulphurised
Middle distillate 2
Normal middle distillate
Light cracked 1
Light cracked 2

261 - 301

46

26.5

2.5

25.0

172 - 344

48.9

20.2

<0.1

30.9

185 - 391
240 - 372
185 - 351

54.1
13.7
23.2

25.6
10.3
8.2

<0.1
3.7
7.8

30.9
72.4
60.8
Floating
layer meter

12

13

Oil in the soil

Behaviour and spreading

Saturated zone

1
5

Groundwater level

3
4

Groundwater

Diagram 2: Location of the different zones


1. Retention zone: a leak zone in the unsaturated zone in which the
oil has moved to the groundwater level as an unbroken phase. The
interstitial spaces almost certainly still contain pure product.
2. Retention zone: a floating layer (an unbroken zone with mobile pure
product) at the groundwater level.
3. Retention zone: a lubrication layer under the groundwater level
where oil is locked into larger interstitial spaces by fluctuating
groundwater levels.
4. A retardation zone under the groundwater level where soluble oil
components (dissolved in water) have been deposited by groundwater transportation, better known as the plume
5. A retardation zone above the groundwater level where volatile and
soluble components (dissolved in the soil air) have been deposited
by air flows and waterborne transportation.

2.1 Introduction
Insight into the behaviour and spreading of oil is essential for the
research method to and including the remediation. This chapter
discusses the way in which oil behaves on the basis of a conceptual
model. This conceptual model is the basis of the soil remediation
process. It involves question such as how the oil is in the soil - as pure
product, a floating layer, source or plume. The behaviour of oil in the
source is different to that in the plume, and this is of real importance
for the remediation method. The same applies to the given that oil is
a mixture. It behaves accordingly. The consequences of the behaviour
of the mixture and the properties of oil that are relevant for soil remediation are examined.
Statement of the problem
It is frequently believed that the removal of the floating layer is
sufficient to resolve the problem of oil contamination in the soil.
Subsequently flushing several times will then remove and groundwater contamination. This myth obstructs an effective approach to oil
contamination. In practice, this type of approach to oil contaminations in the soil is not successful. The contamination continues to
deliver forever.
2.2 Behaviour of oil in the soil
Oil on or in the soil will move through the unsaturated zone under
the influence of gravity. During this process, the oil will fi ll some
of the interstitial spaces in the unsaturated zone. If sufficient oil is
present it will eventually reach the groundwater level. Here, the oil
will form a floating layer on top of the groundwater (diagram 2).
Seasonal effects may cause the groundwater level to fluctuate. When
it drops, the oil in the floating layer follows partially. However, part of
the oil remains in the interstitial spaces. When the groundwater level
rises again, the floating layer rises with it. Some of the oil will then be

15

SKB

Cahier

Oil in the soil

2.3 Floating layers


The definition of floating layers (see www.bodemrichtlijn.nl) and the
presence of floating layers is frequently a point of discussion. This
report uses the following point of departure:

locked under the groundwater level. This is because the groundwater


has insufficient strength to push this oil out of the interstitial spaces.
This process is described with the theory of imbibition (the displacement of a non-wetting liquid by a wetting liquid, for example the displacement of oil by water) and drainage (the displacement of a wetting
liquid by a non-wetting liquid, for example the displacement of water
by air) (NOBIS report 95-2-02). In the oil, pure oil comes into contact
with water and air. Some of the oil will dissolve into them. This is the
cause of groundwater and soil air contamination.
To summarise, soil contamination with oil is described on the basis of
the zones in which the behaviour of oil is determined by various processes. The location of the different zone is illustrated schematically in
diagram 2. This shows three zones in which oil is present as a separate
phase (retention zones) and two zones in which oil does not occur as a
separate phase (retardation zones):
1. Retention zone: a leak zone in the unsaturated zone in which
the oil have moved to the groundwater level as an unbroken phase.
There is almost certainly pure product still in the interstitial
spaces.
2. Retention zone: a floating layer (unbroken zone with mobile
pure product) at the groundwater level.
3. Retention zone: a lubrication layer under the groundwater level
where oil is locked as pure product into larger interstitial spaces
by fluctuating groundwater levels.
4. A retardation zone under the groundwater level where soluble
oil components (dissolved in water) have been deposited by
groundwater transportation, better known as the plume.
5. A retardation zone above groundwater level where volatile and
soluble components (dissolved) have been deposited by air flows
and groundwater transportation.
Zones one to three form the source of the contamination. Zone four
is the groundwater contamination, usually known as the plume in
soil studies. Zone five is the unsaturated zone in which oil dissolved
in air is located and is particularly important for the determination of
evaporation risks for humans.

16

A floating layer is present if the oil can move through the soil as a separate, unbroken phase.
Floating layers originate when so much oil is present in the soil that
the retention capacity of the soil is exceeded. The retention capacity
is defined as the volume of oil per volume of soil that the ground can
hold. The retention capacity depends on the soil type and the oil type.
An indication of the retention capacity for several soil types is given
in table 3. What it boils down to is the coarser the soil type, the lower
the retention capacity.

Table 3
Retention capacity of various soil types for benzene,
diesel and fuel oil (API, 1993)
Soil type

Retention capacity
(litre/m3)


Benzene
Stones,
2.5
coarse gravel
Gravel,
4.0
coarse sand
Coarse /medium
7.5
coarse sand
Medium fine/
12.5
fine sand
Fine sand
20.0

Retention capacity
(mg/kg d.s.)

Diesel
5.0

Fuel oil
10.0

Benzene
1,300

Diesel
2,900

Fuel oil
6,400

8.0

16.0

2,000

4,600

10,300

15.0

30.0

3,800

8,600

19,300

25.0

50.0

6,300

14,300

32,100

40.0

80.0

10,000

22,900

51,400

The retention capacity is also a standard for the degree of (remnant)


contamination after the floating layer has been removed by pumping it

17

SKB

Cahier

Oil in the soil

2.5 The plume


Oil coming into contact with water will dissolve into it and create
the plume. The quantity of oil that dissolves into the water depends
on the composition of the oil and the solubility of the individual
substances that occur in the oil (the mixture behaviour). The concentration in groundwater and soil air can be calculated with the aid
of Raoults Law. According to this law, the equilibrium concentration
of an oil component in (ground)water depends on the proportion of
that component in the pure oil and on the water solubility of the pure
component (see box). The concentration in groundwater (see table 4)
and soil air can be calculated on the basis of Raoults Law.

away as a free phase. It should be clear that after this type of remediation there will still be considerable concentrations of mineral oil
contamination in the soil.
Oil level

Number of sites

2.4 The source


Oil-on-water
A source is present when oil occurs as a separate phase (pure
product)
reaction
negative
in the soil. The simplest way to demonstrate this is the oil-on-water
Oil-on-water
test. If this is positive, pure product is present. Research has
revealed test
negative
that the oil-on-water test is positive from 100-300 mg/kg d.s. oil, and
this is then pure product (NOBIS report 95-2-02). Small droplets
locked into interstitial spaces are also pure product. The presence of
pure product does not therefore mean that there is a floating layer.
Naturally, the reverse does apply. Diagram 3 shows the levels determined in research at more than 50 sites where pure product was
present. The oil-on-water test was negative at the majority of sites (top
diagram) if the level was below 100-300 mg/kg d.s. This diagram also
shows that the oil-on-water test was positive at the majority of sites if
the level of oil was above 100-300 mg/kg d.s

M * Sw = Cw
M = Mass fraction of a component in the oil mixture
Sw = Water solubility of the relevant component in pure form
Cw = Concentration of the component in water with equilibrium
in the oil mixture

Oil level
Oil-on-water
reaction negative

Oil-on-water test
negative

Number of sites

Oil level

Number of sites

Mineral oil is a complex mixture of different substances.


The behaviour of oil in the environment is determined by mixture
behaviour. This is described by Raoults Law:

Oil-on-water
reaction positive

Table 4
Raoults Law calculation example for two mixtures

Oil-on-water test
positive

Substance

Mixture 1

Mixture 2

Solubility Mass fraction Concentration Mass fraction Concentration


g/l
g/l
g/l

Toluene
526,000
Xylene
161,000
Hexane
9,500
Total

0.20
0.50
0.30
1.00

105,200
80,500
2,850
188,550

0.10
0.45
0.45
1.00

52,600
72,450
4,275
129,325

Diagram 3: Results of oil-on-water test versus the chemical detection of oil

18
Oil level

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There are no substance-specific properties for each oil product such as


solubility, density and boiling point. The consequence of this is that
every oil behaves differently in the soil. Furthermore, the overall
behaviour will change over time as a consequence of change in the soil
and oil composition (including weathering).
The following processes are important in the zone with pure product:
Spreading of the oil as a phase
Dissolving in air
Dissolving in water
Sorption to the soil (via water and/or air)
Degradation (in water or air)
Spreading of oil as a phase (depending on retention capacity, see
paragraph 2.3)
2.6 Dissolved product
Oil can dissolve in water and air in the zones with pure product. Once
dissolved in water and air, the oil no longer behaves as a mixture. The
following processes can occur in both water and air outside the zone
with pure product:
Sorption to the soil
Dispersion
Evaporation (from the water)
Dissolving in water (from the air)
Degradation
The concentration and composition of the oil in water and air changes
as a consequence of these processes. These processes play a role in the
determination of the:
Risks to humans
Risks of spreading
Risks for the ecology
Remediation options for the plume
Stable end situation

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Oil in the soil

Intermezzo:
Care for health
In the nineteen seventies the poison scandal in the town of
Lekkerkerk lead to social uproar. Many residents were concerned about the effects of contaminated soil on health. The
possible health risks prompted one-thousand-and-one questions. For example, was it prudent to eat vegetables grown
on an allotment or to allow the children to play outside in the
sandbox unsupervised. One of the scientific disciplines that
can provide answers is medical environmental science, which
has been at the core of health policy in major urban areas
since that time. This also applies to the GGD (regional health
service) Rotterdam - Rijnmond. Carola Hegger is a physician
and a senior medical environmental advisor affiliated to
this GGD. In this capacity, she is ideally placed to discuss the
health risks associated with soil contamination.
As a medical environmental expert give independent advice regarding questions posed by governmental bodies or private citizens on
health and the environment. For example, consider health risks of soil
contamination, possible health risks associated with the electromagnetic fields of transmitter masts, or the risks when removing asbestos.
We receive 5 to 10 questions on soil contamination from residents
each year. The majority of questions are from colleagues at the various
services of Rotterdam municipal council. these may be on soil remediation projects, t also on renovation activities or the arrangement of
new construction sites. Our consultation work also covers the estimation of the risks associated with, for example, water with a floating oil
layer in crawl spaces, or the evaporation of substances. But there are
also the more complex issues, such as the evaluation of sampling results, or the standards and models used in fist-thick soil reports. This
sometimes leads to recommendations of e..g. supplemental studies,
indoor air measurements or monitoring methods.

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The emotional domain


Besides our advisory work, we are also employed to participate in
residents evenings. Members of the public are frequently avalanched
with hard facts during that type of meeting. Of course this is important and necessary information, but experience has taught us that
people can become emotional. As soon as health becomes an issue you
touch peoples personal lives, the emotional domain, feelings and perception. Showing understanding and empathy contributes to calming
fears and concerns. Due to my people-oriented background as a
doctor and on the basis of my experiences I emphatically acknowledge
the importance of how people perceive things. When approaching
and setting up residents evenings or writing letters to residents it is
wise to take explicit account of this. Then we often come and visit.
This seems to work in practice. Naturally, it is important to deliver
custom-made work that is geared to the nature and character of the
problem in question every time, not just a standard story.

Oil in the soil

the evaluation of possible health risks. In practice, the evaluation of a


normal substance is therefore very difficult. The RIVM institute is
devoting a great deal of attention to developing standard models that
will assist the optimum evaluation of the health risks. The development is progressing rapidly, but the level of appropriateness for every
day practical situations is still insufficient. The challenge for the
future is therefore to decrease the gap between model and reality as
much as possible. There is plenty of work to do.

Health risks
It is not so that soil contaminations involve health risks by definition. This is even frequently not the case. The possible health risks
depend especially on the nature and degree of the contamination
- one substance is more dangerous than the other - and the contact
possibilities. Contact possibilities refers to exposure to the substance.
For example inhalation of a substance after evaporation in a house
or drinking contaminated water. Here to, the general rule is - there
must first be contact with a substance before it can have any effect on
health.
Not just oil
Possible contaminations with mineral oil occur relatively frequently.
The most well known example is that of the remediation of a filling
station in a residential area. This does not take away from the fact
that this form of contamination is very difficult to evaluate. This has
everything to do with the composition of the oil. Mineral oil can
consist of a great many different fractions. Issues such as the gravity and volatility of the fractions, the quantity and the depth of the
contamination and the degree of evaporation are very important for

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23

Oil in the soil

Risks
3.1 Introduction
The chapter will discuss the risks associated with oil contaminations.
When determining the risks of oil contaminations a distinction is
made between the risks of exposure, risks of damage, fire and explosion. Exposure risks relate especially to humans and the ecosystem.
Risks of damage relate to materials.
3.2 Exposure risks
3.2.1 Evaluation of exposure risks
Mineral oil is one of the most common substances that cause local
contamination of soil and groundwater. Nevertheless, in the past the
potential risks of these contaminations for humans were frequently
not evaluated. This related to the fact that the evaluation of the risks
of mineral oil was not possible with the aid of the normal risk evaluation models.
This is because the exposure models calculate the exposure of people
for each separate substance. These calculations are executed on the
basis of substance data such as the water solubility, volatility, partition
coefficient and toxicological limit value for each substance. As mineral oil is a complex mixture of different substances, it is impossible to
provide a fixed value of physical-chemical parameters for mineral oil
in general. The consequence of this is that risks for humans were frequently not calculated in the past, or the risks were evaluated on the
basis of components that occur in mineral oil such as BTEX or PAH.
This is why various methods were developed to still be able to evaluate
the risks of mineral oil. One of these methods is the fraction approach. The following paragraph discusses the fraction approach as a
method of evaluating the risks associated with mineral oil contaminations in more detail

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3.2.2 Evaluation of the risks for humans with the fraction


approach
A number of properties of the contamination influence the risks.
What the research strategy and analysis method should look like is
outlined on the basis of these risk-determining properties of mineral
oil. This will facilitate effective evaluation of the risks of contaminations with mineral oil.
With the introduction of the remediation criterion, risk evaluation
now has a central role in answering the question of whether it is necessary to take remediation or security measures. Risks associated with
soil contaminations must be reduced to an acceptable level in order to
make contaminated sites suitable for the envisaged purpose. The key
question is how effectively it can be evaluated whether a mineral oil
contamination will lead to unacceptable risks. The fraction approach
plays a decisive role in answering this question.

Personal protection
against exposure due
to evaporation during
excavation.

the partition coefficient of the fraction determine how the fraction


will behave and which exposure routes are the most important. For
example, exposure may be possible due to ingestion of contaminated
soil particles or inhalation of contaminated substances. The use of the
site determines which exposure routes are important.
With the scenario house with garden it is possible to use a model
calculate the relative contributions per exposure route to the total
exposure for the different oil fractions. On the basis of the model calculation it is expected that the exposure to the more volatile mineral
components is determined especially by evaporation to the outside
air. The lower the volatility of a component, the greater the contribution of ingestion of soil particles and other exposure routes. This link
is illustrated in diagram 4.

The principle of the fraction approach lies in the categorisation of


the complex substance mixture in a number of different fractions according to component type (aliphates or aromatics) and molecule size
(categorisation on the basis of chain length or boiling point). Each
of these fractions is then evaluated on the basis of its characteristic
physical-chemical and toxic properties. The characteristic physicalchemical properties of the fractions are derived on the basis of the
evaluation of more than 200 components. Mineral oil can contain >
1000 different components. Toxicological data is only available for a
small number of the components. The partially carcinogenic components or mineral oil such as benzene and (the majority of) PAHs are
evaluated separately.
In order to be able to apply the fraction approach to the evaluation
of the risks of mineral oil, analysis data must be available on each
fraction. The RIVM has proposed a fraction approach with which the
risks of mineral oil can be evaluated on the basis of 6 aliphatic and 5
aromatic fractions.
Physical-chemical properties such as volatility, water solubility and

26

Oil in the soil

Contribution other routes


Contribution ingestion of soil

Contribution inhalation of indoor air


Aliphatic fraction
Aromatic fraction

Diagram 4: Relative contribution of different exposure routes to the total exposure at a site, calculated for the house with garden scenario. The figures
for the fractions give an indication of the chain length.

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3.2.3 Odours
Soil contamination with mineral oil can create unpleasant odours for
residents. Some components of mineral oil products, such as certain
organic sulphur compounds, can be smelled in the air at extremely
low concentrations.
The sensitivity of peoples sense of smell differs greatly. This is why
reference works frequently provide a maximum and minimum limit
for odour thresholds and not a single fixed value. The board of health
regards odour as an aspect that can negatively influence health. If a
contamination causes unpleasant odours for residents this is a reason
to implement remediation measures, regardless of the health risks of
the contamination.

picture of the properties of the contamination that determine the


exposure.

3.2.4 Consequences
In general it is the volatile fractions that determine the exposure risks
of mineral oil contaminations (see chapter 1). This is why research
and analysis data must answer three questions in particular:
Could the contamination be present under buildings?
Can contaminations evaporate into the outside air?
Does the mineral oil product that is present contain volatile
components?

The harmful effect of mineral oil components is additive, which


means that the damaging effects of the different fractions must be
added together in the evaluation. Besides harmful effects, oil is also
known to have fertilizing effects.

Clearly described analysis methods are now available that can provide
answers regarding the presence of volatile mineral oil components
in the soil and groundwater. Obtaining a clear picture of a contamination situation under buildings is often difficult in practice. If it
is expected that mineral oil contaminations that contain volatile
components are (partially) present under buildings, the evaporation
into the air must be verified with measurements. This can be done by
taking measurements in the crawl space and the indoor air.
If remediation measures are required, the remediation method will
have to be selected in such a way that the risks have been reduced
to a sufficient degree after remediation (and the remediation goal is
achieved). The remediation goals for volatile contaminations under
buildings will be lower (stricter) than the remediation goals for volatile contaminations that are not under buildings.
For the analysis method, this means that it is necessary to have a clear

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Oil in the soil

3.2.5 Risks for the ecosystem


Mineral oil components are harmful to the environment. This is because mineral oil components are harmful to an important part of the
cells of living organisms, the cell membrane. The detrimental effect of
mineral oil is caused by accumulation of foreign organic compounds
on the cell membranes, thereby disrupting their function.
A detailed evaluation of the risks for the environment is possible with
the fraction approach.

3.2.6 Summary
In the past it was not possible to (effectively) evaluate the risks of
contaminations with mineral oil.
The fraction approach makes it possible to evaluate the risks of
the substance mixture more effectively.
The risks of mineral oil contamination are highly dependent on
the type of contamination (the fraction composition).
Especially volatile mineral oil components are important for the
determination of the exposure risks.
In order to be able to effectively evaluate evaporation risks, we
recommend carrying out site-specific measurements of the crawl
space air and indoor air.
3.3 Damage
Oil contaminations are able to dissolve certain materials. Plastic in
particular are sensitive to permeation (penetration) and damage. A
number of materials that are used in the sub soil and of which the
function can be negatively affected are described here:

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Drinking water and gas pipes


If plastic is used, oil compounds can penetrate the pipe material and contaminate the drinking water. In extreme cases the
pipe material can be damaged. In the past, gas pipes have often
been protected with a bitumen coating. If this coating comes into
contact with oil products the bitumen can dissolve and lose its
protective capacity.
Sewers
Concrete pipe are also not impervious to oil products. The
oil products can seep through open connections or penetrate
through rubber or bitumen seals in the pipes. This can lead to
leaking sewers or the penetration of the oil products into the sewers.
Cables
Underground cables frequently have a rubber or plastic coating
that can be sensitive to damage by oil products. This can lead
to short-circuits in the soil. When removing the cables, account
must be taken of the fact that the cables may also be contaminated
by the oil products.
Measuring pipes
Measuring pipe material can also be damaged. These days, HDPE
pipes are usually installed that are less sensitive to chemical
damage than PVC.
Underground tanks
Older types of underground tanks are usually made of steel coated
with bitumen. The bitumen coating can dissolve and lose its
protective capacity when it comes into contact with oil products
in the soil.

Oil in the soil

Just one spark is needed for this type of mixture to combust/explode.


The degree to which the flammability of a substance is related to
the volatility can be deduced from the flash point. The flash point is
the temperature at which the substance develops precisely sufficient
vapour to make the vapour/air mixture that has been formed (under
equilibrium conditions) explosive. Substances with a flash point
above a temperature that will normally not be reached are therefore
not likely to explode by definition and do not require any further attention in this context. These are substances with a flash point of 55C
and higher in this context.

Table 5
Class

Flash points

1F
2F

21C < flash point < 55C


< 21C

Categorisation criteria F classes


An F class (explosion risk) is assigned, depending on the properties of
the contamination. This involves making a distinction between flammable (class 1F) or extremely flammable (class F2). Different types of
safety measures are prescribed for the different classes.

3.4 Danger of fire and explosions


Oil compounds are flammable, and volatile oil contaminations can
also cause explosions. This is why the danger of fire and explosions is
studied carefully when remediating soil contamination with mineral
oil. If accumulation causes the concentration in the air to exceed the
lowest explosion limit (LEL), this is an explosive vapour/air mixture.

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Intermezzo: The Saturday


afternoon remediation
A random Saturday afternoon in the centre of a rural town
in the North of the country. A garage with a petrol station is
located in a residential area. A contractor is busy lifting a tank
out of the ground with a crane. The sun is shining and the
contractor and garage-owner are relaxed, rolling a cigarette.
Completely coincidentally, the local environment office and
the police are conducting a round of inspections precisely at
that time. Purely routine. It is this experience and routine that
tell them that something is wrong. Lieuwe Hansma, technical environment officer in the municipality of Dantumadeel
and Luut de Jong, environment manager at Jansma Wegen en
MIlieu B.V. talk about how it should not be done and solutions
by the book. As it should be.
Lieuwe Hansma:
We were conducting a round of surveillance in our municipality
with a colleague from the police. This is something that we do regularly. Active enforcement of the laws and regulations in the field of
the environment and spatial zoning is an important part of our task
package. Frequently at times when people think that the inspection
service is taking a day off or on the weekend. For example, on Friday
or Saturday. These are the times when normal people have time to
e.g. burn some rubbish or cuttings in the garden. The smoke plumes
on the horizon betray this type of activity. When we saw the employee
standing next to his tractor and crane at the petrol station, with the
tank already on the ground , we knew that there was something fishy
about this Saturday afternoon remediation.
Luut de Jong:
There are a lot of cowboys operating in the market. Less now than
before. This type of black remediation is sometimes carried out due
to ignorance, but sometimes it is done consciously in order to avoid

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Oil in the soil

procedures and expenses. In rural municipalities it occasionally happens that the contractor around the corner is used to clear the job up.
A tractor with a crane behind it, hoist the tank out, and then take it
to the local scrap iron dealer. Easy as pie. Naturally, this is not how it
works.
Lieuwe Hansma:
We were not really welcomed with open arms. But this is not unusual
with our work. The garage-owner and contractor attempted to evade,
but the discussion was soon at an end. I was certain that I had absolutely not received any notification of the remediation. The case was
therefore illegal. My police colleague increased the pressure: If you
do not stop this immediately I will write out an official report and you
will be in even more trouble. These are the times when collaboration
between the police and the council pays dividends.
Luut de Jong:
A soil study must be carried out prior to the implementation of soil
remediation. Modern method such as soil analyses provide insight
into the nature and scope of the contamination. There is a duty to
report, which means that the initiator must announce the intended
remediation to the municipal council. This announcement is accompanied by the results of the soil study, the manner in which the
remediation will be conducted and specification of who will carry it
out. Naturally, that must be a specialised company that possesses the
required quality certificates. If the soil and tank remediation is carried out by a company that is not appropriately certified and without
prior announcement to the competent authority, this is an illegal
remediation. The owner will not receive a tank remediation certificate
and clean soil declaration, and this will cause a great many problems
for him if he wishes to sell the property. Every potential buyer will
ask for such a declaration. Either a remediation will still have to be
executed in accordance with the regulations or the remediation costs
will be deducted from the sale price. There are countless examples
of the buyer deciding not to go ahead with the purchase. The owner
is then left with his own mess. A contaminated site that is therefore
difficult to sell.

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Lieuwe Hansma:
Our first concern was to exclude and minimise the risks that were
present. You must remember that we were confronted with a tank that
had already been lifted out of the ground. It stank of petrol, and if you
know how explosive petrol fumes can be you know what the dangers
are. Immediate action was sorely needed in order to prevent danger to
the local residents. We immediately stopped the work, closed all pipes
and sealed off and screened the site. After all, the site was in a residential area. Furthermore, there are always some curious older residents
who stand and watch the work. Imagine if the tank had exploded.
Luut de Jong:
Soil remediation occurs in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the issue
is simply the removal of the tank without causing soil contamination,
and sometimes the situations are complex and involve tank removal
and considerable soil contamination. It becomes more problematic
if cables, pipes or water pits are present or if the tanks and contaminated soil are located under buildings or high Voltage cables. There
are countless implementation variants, from cleaning the site to and
including excavation and removal.

Oil in the soil

Luut de Jong:
My urgent advice is - always act in accordance with the procedures
and regulation and, in any case, always work with certified companies. The statement pay peanuts, get monkeys might be particularly
appropriate for soil remediation. Follow all the steps in the process
carefully. An open attitude and transparent communication reinforce
the contacts between the various involved parties. A good relationship
in which you can trust each other makes the work more pleasant for
the initiator, contractor and authorities. With the final result being,
clean soil!

Note:
The Saturday afternoon remediation is a true story. The time, place and some details have
been changed without affecting the reality.

Lieuwe Hansma:
You frequently hear hit entrepreneurs complaining that the remediation costs are so high, that they have such a small company and that
it will cost them their business. It is not nearly that bad in practice.
Soil remediation carried out in accordance with the regulations has,
without doubt, added value. The clean ground declaration that is obtained is an absolute must for building activities or for the purchasing
or sale of land. You cannot do without it. The good thing is that you
usually see satisfied faces at the end of the process. I sometimes even
see pride in the sense of the job has been done completely according
to the rules and the diploma has been earned. The pain of the initial
discussion on the use, necessity and costs is definitively in the past.

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Oil in the soil

Research strategies
4.1 Introduction
We now know what oil is and have outlined its behaviour. The exposure risks for humans and the ecosystem and the possible damage to
materials are also now clear. This knowledge does not mean that we
can simply start the actual remediation of oil in the soil. Prior to this
we need precise insight into the nature, scope and character of the
contamination in connection with possible remediation. This chapter
discusses the necessary research questions and possible research
methods that must still be answered in this context.
Table 6 is an overview of the methods discussed in this chapter.

Table 6
Overview of research methods discussed
Method

Type

Features

Paragraph

Historical research
Desk study
Site inspection
On-Site
Conventional
Laboratory
Taking soil water samples

with boreholes and measuring pipes,

analysis at the laboratory
PID
On-Site
Measurement of volatile

compounds in the field
ROST/MIP
On-Site
Direct measurement in probe cone
Diffusion/Sorbisampler Laboratory
Alternative groundwater

Sampling method
Geophysical
On-Site
Ground radar, seismic measurements
Origin

4.3.1
4.3.2
4.3.2

4.4.1
4.4.1
4.4.2
4.4.2
4.5

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4.2 Research goals


There are two main goals when studying the presence of mineral oil
in the soil:
t he primary goal of soil research is to determine whether contamination is present and then to map its nature and scope. This
information can be used to ascertain the risks of the contamination and the need for soil remediation.
t he secondary goal is the characterisation of the contamination in
relation to its eventual remediation (see chapter 5). Devoting attention to this characterisation at an early stage provides information, at relatively low additional costs, that is important for the
consideration and design of remediation measures. What it comes
down to is that the researcher must think about the implementation at the earliest possible stage in the research process.
In order to achieve this early focus on implementation the following
questions must be included in the research phase:
Is the contamination easily accessible, or is it present in layers
with poor permeability?
Has the core of the contamination been mapped out clearly?
What type of oil is present and what are the properties of this oil?
Is there a floating layer present and where can we expect it?
A re the environmental conditions favourable for biological
degradation or can these favourable environmental conditions
be created?
Can we estimate the load that is present in the core and the
plume? This is important in relation to the remediation period
and the costs of treating the water and air that is released during
the remediation.
Insight into the behaviour of the oil and the possible spreading routes
in the soil as described in chapter 2 is essential for the setting up of
the soil research strategy.

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Oil in the soil

4.3 Conventional research methods


4.3.1 Historical research
Dossier research on historical information is extremely important.
The chance of success in the field is increased with information on
the original starting product, the nature and possible incidents and
the manner of use/application. Besides dossier research, employees
can also provide useful practical information on how and where oily
products were or are used. The research must provide insight into the
following subjects:
What activities could have caused an oil contamination?
W here are the possible causes of contamination? Examine the
entire business process - where and in what were the raw materials stored, where was the fuel used, which accidents could occur
during processing, where was the excess liquid discharged? etc.
For example, at filling stations it is important to gain insight into
the location of the tanks, aeration points and measuring points
in the tanks, where filling took place, where the tanks were filled
and where the underground oil/water separators are located. In
oil storage depots, for example, the fuel transfer points are usually
the most important sources of soil contamination.
When did incidents take place?
What types of oil were used?
This is the basis of the evaluation of where, whether and how much
pure product has penetrated into the soil. The time, in combination
with geohydrological information, also provides an indication of the
possible plume size and the natural degradation rate. It is also important to know which products were stored or used in which period. The
presence of secondary contaminations such as lead or MTBE (Methyl
Tertiary-Butyl Ether) can be an indication of the time at which the
spillage took place. All in all, the field research can be conducted in
a much more focused manner on the basis of historical information.
If it is impossible to obtain this information, a site inspection may
provide some insight into the use of the site.

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Oil in the soil

4.3.2 Conventional research


The term conventional research refers to site inspections and normal
field research:
Site inspection:
The site inspection involves checking the dossier research and the
historical information. The current and former suspect sub-sites
are inventoried and projected, after which the accessibility of the
site is evaluated for the feasibility of the field work.
Normal field research:
Normal field research into the presence of mineral oil in the soil
includes the creation of boreholes, the placement of measuring
pipes, the taking of soil and groundwater samples and the execution of chemical analyses of the samples in laboratory. Observing
soil samples in an oil pan, which involves placing contaminated
soil in a layer of water, will reveal a visible oily film if an oil contamination is present. A PID meter (Photo Ionisation Detector)
can be used to detect the presence of volatile contaminations.
When sampling aromatic solvents in the soil, special attention must
be devoted to the volatility and high level of aerobic degradability of
the contamination in question. For example, when taking soil samples
an insertion bush must be used in order to prevent evaporation of the

Implementation of
mechanical boring for
placement of measuring
pipes (Source Tauw)

40

aromatic hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. When taking groundwater samples, a limited debit is applied in order to prevent the emission,
and thereby disappearance of the substance into the atmosphere, of
vapour bubbles produced by underpressure prior to analysis.

Measuring pipes for soil studies


Filters must be placed through (in other words with a part of the filter
above the groundwater level and a part below the groundwater level)
the source of the contamination (the area where pure product is expected) in order to determine the presence of oil in the groundwater.
Oil as a pure product is usually located near the capillary zone, which
is the interface between the saturated and the unsaturated zone. If
a floating layer is encountered in the filter it is generally not useful
to analyse a groundwater sample because the levels will be near the
maximum solubility of the oil product.
To be able to demarcate the horizontal scope of the contamination,
the distance is from the measuring point to the source of the contamination must be studied. Filters can be placed through the centre or the
edges of the source area. However, dissolved oil products can spread
to greater depths, which means that the contamination will be located
deeper in the soil at a greater distance from the source. In the case of
low concentrations of volatile oil components, when placing intersecting measuring pipes there is also a risk of an influx of oxygen that will
degrade the relatively low levels of contaminants that are already in
the measuring pipe or during the sampling. Intersecting measuring
pipes must therefore not be used for the demarcation of a groundwater contamination.

The placement of measuring pipes in the source area of contamination with mineral oil involves a risk of permeation of contaminants
through the plastic pipes of the measuring pipes and filters (see
paragraph 3.3). Volatile aromatic hydrocarbons in particular can
penetrate through plastic pipes and contaminate the groundwater.
Plastic may even soften in extreme cases. This may give the impres-

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sion that groundwater in a deep measuring pipe is contaminated,


while a shallow contamination is causing the levels detected in the
sampled groundwater. This phenomenon is also known as crosscontamination, a risk that can be prevented by using steel casings in
the core area that are inserted to under the core of the contamination
during drilling operations. Deeper drilling can then take place within
the casing. This method is more expensive. The diffusion samplers,
are a practical application of the permeation phenomenon (see paragraph 4.4).
The displacement of mini or medium-sized filters with probing
equipment through source areas also increases the chance of crosscontamination. Here too, the use of a casing is a good solution. If it is
not strictly necessary, we recommend not implementing deep drilling
or probing through the known source area, but only around its edges.
When selecting the measuring pipe material, account must therefore
be taken of the risk of permeation or damage due to high concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons. HDPE and, to a lesser degree, PVC
are sensitive to permeation and PVC can even be physically damaged
by high levels of contamination. Softening only occurs in the presence of pure product and will not occur if only the groundwater is
contaminated. In the case of HDPE, it is recommended that the pipe
be thoroughly flushed without lowering the water level in the pipe
excessively in order to prevent lubrication if permeation is expected.
Stainless steel is insensitive to permeation, but an expensive alternative.
Sealing layers must be sealed with an expanding clay after completion
of drilling operations in order to prevent a preferential channel from
remaining in the soil. This can lead to undesired spreading of pure
product deeper in the soil, especially in the unsaturated zone.
In normal field research, soil and groundwater is analysed, depending
on the composition of the pure product, for the presence of mineral
oil (volatile hydrocarbons C6 - C10 and non-volatile hydrocarbons
C10 - C 40), volatile aromatic hydrocarbons (BTEXN) or polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The oil GC chromatogram and the

42

Oil in the soil

hydrocarbon fraction division can be used for initial product recognition. Division into aromatic and aliphatic fractions can be used for
risk analysis. This method was developed in the first instance by
the American Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons Criteria Work Group
(TPHCWG) and is now gradually being adopted in Europe. RIVM
has also developed a method that corresponds with the TPHCWG
methodology (see paragraph 3.2.2). his method has not yet been incorporated into policy and is almost never applied in practice in The
Netherlands. Oil analysis can be used to determine remediation (im)
possibilities for unknown oil products (see box).

Oil analysis
The oil analysis is based on the measurement of the water solubility of all of the substances in the oil/tar. The boiling point of all the
substances is determined on the basis of retention period in the gas
chromatogram (a gas chromatograph separates the substances on
the basis of the difference in boiling point). The combination of water
solubility and boiling point leads to an identification of the compound
at substance group level. This categorisation is frequently used for the
identification of the oil (e.g. which type of kerosene). A categorisation
is also made into aliphatic and aromatic fractions. This categorisation
can be used for the risk evaluation of an oil.
The substances in the oil can also be categorised according to solubility in air and water. The usability of this categorisation lies in the
predictive and evaluating value for the maximum achievable yield
of remediation methods that are based on evaporation (stripping)
or flushing (pump-and-treat). In addition, a pronouncement is made
on the biological and chemical degradability of the oil. An effectively
underpinned remediation goal can be derived with the aid of the oil
analysis and the site-specific data.

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Diagram 5
Oil GC chromatograms of different oil products
(source: Laboratory AL-West)

44

Benzene

Mixture of diesel oil and motor oil

Diesel oil, gas oil, household fuel oil

Hydraulic oil

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ROST and MIP


ROST stands for Rapid Optical Screening Tool, and is a method that
uses the fluorescent properties of oil products. The ROST detector can
be built into a probe cone. There are several oil detection and measurement systems that can determine oil levels on the basis of this
principle. The ROST is particularly suitable for the detection of light
and heavier compounds containing oil in soil and groundwater.

4.4 Follow-up research on the source zone and plume


4.4.1 Conventional methods
In general, it is possible to effectively map out contaminations with
mineral oil that float on the groundwater in the Dutch situation (shallow groundwater) with the conventional research methods. Research
methods other than the conventional methods can be used for further
demarcation/analysis of the source zone, depending on the shape and
depth of the contamination, the soil structure and the research aim.
Unsaturated zone
A PID meter or mobile gas chromatograph can be used to research
the presence of volatile hydrocarbons in the soil air in the unsaturated zone. An advantage of this on-site analysis direct insight
into concentrations. These can be used as the basis of the determination of the scope of the shallow source zone immediately in the
field. Several verification measurements can then be implemented
on the basis of soil sampling and normal measuring pipes.
Saturated zone
If the (vertical) soil structure is complex, the soil structure can
be further charted with on-site probing of the immediate source
zone or just outside the source zone. This will enable identification of the spreading paths of the groundwater. A strategy for additional groundwater sampling or remediation can be formulated
on the basis of this information.
An integrated system, in which probing and analysis are combined,
can be used to further detail the source zone. this takes place with
ROST or MIP probing.

ROST and MIP probing:


probe rod and detection equipment (source: Tauw)

46

MIP stands for Membrane Interface Probe and is a research method


that is based on heat-stimulated diffuse transportation of volatile
components from the soil through a membrane. This membrane is
built into the probing cone. The components diffused through the
membrane are transported from the back of the membrane to the
detection equipment in the probe truck in a stream of nitrogen gas.
The MIP is only suitable for mapping out volatile soil and groundwater contaminations.

pulsating
UV laser light

glass fibre
cable

fluorescence
to photomultiplier

activated
aromatic

to
detector
heating element

sapphire window
fluorescence +
stable
aromatic

Hydrophobic
membrane permeable
for volatile compounds

friction resistance

friction resistance

cone resistance

cone resistance

Diagram 6:
Principle ROST method (source: Fugro)

Diagram 7:
Principle MIP method (source: Fugro)

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The probe cone is also fitted with traditional instruments for the
measurement of cone resistance and the friction resistance (= the
normal geotechnical probing) in order to determine the soil structure.
An advantage of this method is that it provides immediate insight into
oil and volatile compound concentrations in relation to depth (measured value per 2 cm soil travelled) and the soil structure. The ROST
method can reveal soil contaminations (pure product) and high levels
in the groundwater. The detection level of the MIP probe is usually in
the order of magnitude of 100 - 1,000 g/l. If desired, several verification measurements can take place in normal measuring pipes after
the MIP probing.

Recovery tests
The estimation of the contamination load in the soil can be carried out
with the aid of the floating layer thickness. However, the thickness of a
floating layer in a measuring pipe does not correspond with the actual
thickness of the floating layer in the soil. The floating layer is located in
the soil usually on and in the capillary zone. There is no capillary zone
in the measuring pipe, which means that the thickness of the floating
layer in the measuring pipe in practice will always be larger than the
actual thickness in the soil. Determination of the thickness of a floating
layer in the soil can be carried out with a recovery test. This involves
pumping the floating layer out of the measuring pipe and then observing the speed with which it reappears in the measuring pipe. The
actual thickness can be derived from the course of the reduction in the
influx speed of the floating layer. It is possible to measure a (apparent)
floating layer that does not actually exist in clay soils!

4.4.2 New methods


Diffusion sampler and Sorbisampler (www.diffusiesampler.nl)
The diffusion sampler is a permeable membrane in the form of
a plastic bag (polythene) that is filled with water. The sampler is
suspended in a measuring pipe at the depth of the filter and then,
when the water is in equilibrium with the surroundings after
several weeks of standing time, removed again and analysed.

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Oil in the soil

The Sorbisampler is an adsorption material that is placed in a


measuring pipe and then removed and analysed after a period of
time.
Both systems are alternatives for the labour-intensive pumping of
water from measuring pipes in order to check for the presence of
volatile components of oil contaminations. These sampling principles can save time and therefore money, especially in the case of
deep measuring pipes. The diffusion sampler is not applicable for
heavier oil contaminations because they do not diffuse through
the membrane or diffuse too slowly.
Geophysical methods
Geophysical methods such as ground radar (GPR) and high-resolution seismic measurements for the determination of the scope of
source areas have been tested in the past. although these methods
provide a great deal of information on the composition of the sub
soil, they have not been proven in terms of the detection of oil
contaminations.
Costs
The costs of the various research methods vary and are highly dependent on the nature of the contaminating activities and the scope
of the site. This is why there are no general indications regarding the
deployment costs of the different methods.
4.5 Age and origin of oil contaminations
The determination of the age of an oil contamination has been an important theme since the start of the approach to soil contamination.
However, there are almost no possibilities to ascertain the exact age.
The biological degradation of oil varies greatly in the different soil
environments and is not a reliable point of departure for the estimation of age. Weathering in the soil can change the composition of the
oil product. The chromatogram (diagram 5) provides an indication
of the composition and can indicate the degree to which weathering has occurred. In the case of diesel oil, weathering by biological
degradation removes the sharp peaks, while the proportion of volatile
compounds in lighter products such as benzene can decrease and the
aromatics composition can change (relatively less benzene). However,

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it is not possible to attach conclusions in relation to the age to the


chromatograms because the composition of the oil product in the soil
at a particular time is highly dependent on local conditions. With the
correct soil conditions (for example, a floating layer in the saturated
zone, no infiltration of rainwater, no degradation and low groundwater flow rate), a contamination composition can remain unchanged in
the soil for decades, while the composition can change very rapidly in
a different situation (for example, superficial oil contamination in the
unsaturated zone with an open ground level).
Practice, research on the age of a contamination is geared to the nature and usage of the oil products and the spreading of the contamination:

Oil in the soil

Spreading of the contamination:


Oil components can dissolve in water and be transported along
with the groundwater stream. Depending on the properties of
the oil components (solubility, degradation rate and adsorption)
and the quality of the geohydrological data, an estimation can be
made of the age of a groundwater contamination. This involves
geohydrological and substance transportation modelling in the
retardation zone. Usually, the research is geared to the volatile
aromatic hydrocarbons or admixtures such as MTBE because the
heavier components have a lower level of mobility in the groundwater. The quality of the results of this calculation is highly
dependent on the quality of the hydrological measurement data
that is available

Nature and use of oil products:


The nature of the oil products can be derived on the basis of
the composition of the oil product. It is even possible to make a
detailed categorisation of the hydrocarbons with a fingerprint.
In general, this method is almost never used for the standard
oil products such as benzenes, diesel oil, and domestic fuel oil
because the oil GC chromatogram has already clarified what the
product is. However, it is possible to use the method to distinguish the various oil products.
Admixtures are frequently added to fuels in order to improve
performance. Well known examples are compounds containing
lead and MTBE (from 1987). These substances were added to fuels
in specific periods, which enables estimation of the age of a soil
contamination. The benzene level in petrols has also gradually
decreased over the years. In addition, dyes are used in fuels that
make it possible to distinguish oil products from different suppliers in certain cases.
Isotopes occur in all oil products in different proportions. The
isotope composition can be a distinctive feature of oil products
and can therefore be used for their identification. This, in combination with historical information on the use of the product
enables estimation of its age.

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Intermezzo: Site

Konijnenberg 45 in Breda
You acquire a car dealership and then discover that the soil
underneath it is contaminated. Neither the former owner of
Auto van Tellingen B.V. nor the owner of the land and buildings are responsible. After legal proceedings you are eventually saddled with the costs of the soil remediation. This what
happened to Mart Rttchen of Autobedrijf Rugee B.V. For
Emiel Oomen, the owner of the land and buildings at that
time, it was just a question of common sense, look before you
leap and accept responsibility.

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Oil in the soil

Oomen, demanded compensation for damages.


I eventually had the remediation carried out by a specialised company
at my own expense. The remediation went much better than expected.
The contact with the council was excellent and the company remained nicely on budget. We even had a minor contamination under
the buildings removed. Otherwise I would have had more trouble
with that, which was the last thing I wanted. It had already cost me a
great deal of money. What I have learned from this is that I will always
have a soil study carried out before this kind of transaction. Then you
know exactly where you stand. This does not take away from the fact
that I still find it strange that I had to pay the remediation costs. I had
not caused the pollution. I simply acquired the operating company,
not land or buildings, but I was still responsible and had to pay. I cannot think of a more beautiful example of the polluter does not pay.

Mart Rttchen:
The polluter does not pay
I was stupid. I should not have bought Auto van Tellingen, but first
let it go bankrupt. If had bought it then I would not have had all this
trouble. This way there were skeletons in the closet, and I received a
letter from the council three months after the purchase. The contents
of that letter - the soil under my business was contaminated and I was
to take appropriate measures. I was dumbstruck. Auto van Tellingen
had told me nothing about possible contaminations before the purchase. Emiel Oomen, the owner of the land and buildings had also
said nothing about contamination. I knew nothing. I saw this as a case
of hidden defects as sometime occurs when buying a house. In these
cases, the seller can still be held liable. Justifiably, I believe. But things
went differently in my case.

Emiel Oomen:
Accept personal responsibility
It might have something to do with my education. It taught me to
emphasises structures and processes and therefore effective work
planning. I studied aerodynamics at TU Delft. After graduation as
an aircraft engineer I worked for a while in the automobile sector. As
so often happens, I stayed in that sector for the rest of my life. First
at a Volkswagen dealer in Breda. Later, I started as an independent
businessman and established my own car damage repair company.
That was at Konijnenberg 45. First I leased. When the opportunity
presented itself I purchased the land and the buildings. I used part of
it for my own garage, and I leased another part to a car dealership and
garage of which Mart Rttchen subsequently became the owner.

Auto van Tellingen, the actual polluter, was still owed money by me.
I was not planning to pay it until he had resolved the contamination
issue. However, he did not accept this and initiated legal proceedings.
The judge ruled in his favour, so I lost the case. Besides the soil remediation issue, I was not permitted to refuse to pay the money to which
he was entitled. The legal tug of war regarding the actual remediation
took years. The owner of the land and buildings at that time, Emiel

The trouble started when Rttchen was approached by the council to


remediate the soil contamination. Who was responsible and who was
therefore liable to pay the costs? In the beginning, with those legal
proceedings, the contact was unpleasant, but later, after a judgement
had been pronounced an common sense prevailed we were once again
on speaking terms. For me, it was and is as simple as anything. I feel
that it speaks for itself that you must have a soil study carried out if

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you purchase land without a clean soil declaration. Examine the situation on site in advance, have zero measurements carried out, and also
study the water system and the groundwater streams.
My point of departure in normal life and my daily work is that everyone bears an important responsibility. For his family, colleagues or
employees and also the environment. Every citizen has a duty of care
to his or her descendants and future generations. The environment
deserves respect and we must be good stewards of this legacy. This is
how I ran my damage repair company, attaching a great deal of value
to effective policy on quality, working conditions and the environment right from the start. In this philosophy here is not room for I
did not know. You must always accept your own personal responsibility and investigate things thoroughly beforehand. I have always
been a proponent of this vision in my activities in the Brabantse
Zeeuwse Employers Association.
Rttchen eventually had the soil remediation carried out after the legal judgement. Completely in accordance with the rules. As it should
be. I sold my company, the land and the buildings a few years after the
remediation. I am now involved with a different branch of sport and
have an investment company in real estate management. Clean soil is
also a virtue in that sector.

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Remediation methods
5.1 Introduction
Oil contaminations can be remediated with a wide range of (in-situ)
remediation methods. This chapter discusses the various remediation options on the basis of the SKB method fan. There are four basic
methods:
1. E
 xcavation: excavation of the contamination and on/off site
cleaning.
2. Physical or extractive methods: actively removing the contamination from the soil.
3. Biological methods: (stimulation of) the natural degradation
in the soil.
4. Chemical methods: actively convert contaminations in the soil
into harmless end products with the aid of chemicals.
In order to carry out these remediation methods we have a number
of separate in-situ methods that can be used for various goals. For example, compressed air injection can be used to strip contaminations
from the soil (extractive) or to stimulate aerobic biological degradation (biological). For example, chemical oxidation frequently also
stimulates biological degradation.
There are also various supplementary methods, for example soil
heating or the injection of surfactants or hot water.
In this chapter, the methods table is used to explain what individual
in-situ methods are available for every remediation method. The table
also indicate the individual features of each method. For example,
consider the suitability for the approach to cores, floating layer
or plumes. Is the method suitable for the unsaturated zone or the
saturated zone and what are the levels of experience and cost? Every
method is then described briefly. This chapter also devotes attention

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to generally feasible remediation goals and the knowledge required


for the dimensioning of an (in-situ) oil remediation.
Remediation concept
Effective oil remediation frequently consists of a combination of different remediation methods or techniques. Here, the choice is highly
dependent on the local situation and the source or plume area. Several
methods are also frequently used in the source area: floating layer or
load removal at the start, followed by stimulation of natural degradation.

Stable end situation proven


Concentrations
Active
remediation

Active
aftercare

Figuur 8
Globale stadia oliesanering

Passive
aftercare

5.2 Realistic remediation goals


Practical experience has shown that it is seldom possible to remove
oil contaminations 100% with in-situ methods. It is only possible to
completely remove a contamination by means of excavation. However,
(underground) infrastructure frequently makes excavation impossible
or extremely expensive. Fortunately, under the provisions of the Soil
Protection Act it is no longer necessary to completely clean the soil.
Function-oriented remediation of the top soil and cost-effective remediation of the sub soil have now become the most important goals.
Real risks for humans or the ecology and the risk of spreading must be
removed or managed. In terms of policy, the emphasis has therefore
shifted from remediation to risk management.
The question is, what are (technically) realistic remediation goals for
oil contaminations now? The in-situ remediation options for an oil
contamination are in any case highly dependent on the average chain
length of the oil. To C12 oils are still relatively volatile, easily soluble
and mobile. From C12 the mobility of an oil decreases rapidly and the
oil adheres much more to the soil matrix. See also chapter 1, behaviour
and spreading of oil products. In-situ remediation processes almost
always occur in the water in the soil, with dissolved fractions or pure
product in the interstitial spaces. This means that oil contaminations
to C12 can still be reasonably (in-situ) remediated, but that heavier
types of oil are very difficult to remove.
However, the limited mobility and low volatility of heavier oils means
that there are fortunately hardly any risks for humans and the ecology
or risk of spreading.
In general, it can be asserted that the mobiles oils that can be largely
remediated in-situ, but remediation yields in excess of 80 to 90% are
frequently very difficult to achieve technically.
Risks can be removed, but it is often impossible to achieve the target,
interim and even intervention values.

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Necessary information for the evaluation of the feasibility.


Naturally, in order to be able to determine whether remediation is
necessary, and if so which methods and techniques are suitable for
a core or plume area (conceptual model), a minimum level of knowledge regarding the site and the contamination is required:

Soil structure and geohydrology
What type of foundation is present? Is the soil sandy or clayish?
Is peat present? And it is particularly important to know whether
the soil is heterogeneous. The groundwater level and direction
of flow and flow rate are also important for correct dimensioning.

Soil environment
Certain aspects of the soil environment are important, depending on the type of remediation. For physical remediations it
is important to know if large quantities of iron or calcium are
present in connection with water purification, and also, for
example, what the acidity, buffer capacity and hardness of the
groundwater is. For biological remediations it is important to
know what the degradation conditions are (acidity, oxygen,,
nitrates, sulphates, iron concentrations, etc.). The acidity, calcium
and iron levels are also important for chemical remediations, as
well as the presence of organic matter or peat.

Oil in the soil

the Sanscrit computer model, but also with an oil analysis or of


control measurements (indoor air measurements, groundwater
stream, etc). See also Chapter 4.

Concentrations, scope & load
Naturally, it is important to know what the contamination concentrations are, what the scope of the contamination is (surface
area and depth), and the quantity of contamination load in
particular.

History
The history of the origin is frequently also important in order to
analyse and understand the spreading. The age of a contamination also provides information on the spreading speed and risks
( 4.3.1; historical research).

Use of the site
Naturally, the use of the site is important in order to correctly
estimate risks and levels of urgency - house and garden or industrial area.

5.3 General remediation methods



Infrastructure
Is the site lying fallow, or is there a more intensive underground
and/or above-ground infrastructure? In other words, is it easy to
excavate the contamination, or is an in-situ approach required.

Oil type
Naturally, the type of oil is important. Heavier oil types can only
be remediated in-situ to a limited degree. The more mobile the
oil, the greater the threat, but the easier the in-situ remediation.

Risks
Is there actually any risk associated with the oil? Human, ecological and/or in terms of spreading? This can be studied with

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5.3.1 Excavation
The nature of oil contaminations frequently restricts them to the
shallow soil, the lubrication zone, which often makes them easily accessible for excavation. Depending on the situation, scope and remediation goal to be achieved, contaminations are completely excavated
or only the core source is removed.
The excavated soil is cleaned off-site or on-site, for example by means
of biopiling (biological soil cleaning). Depending on the scope, the
remediation period varies from days to several weeks. In the Dutch
context, temporary pumping is often required in order to be able to
excavate with dry feet.

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Contamination that is bonded to soil or pure product will therefore


first have to be dissolved.

Removal of underground tank


(source Tauw)

Any groundwater contamination or plume remaining after the soil remediation is either monitored for stability for several years or actively
treated with in-situ remediation methods, frequently pump & treat
approach or stimulation of biological degradation.
In the case of floating layers, excavation is often a quick, cost-effective
and reliable method in comparison with in-situ methods. Naturally,
the floating layer must be easily accessible for excavation.
A disadvantage of excavation is that vapours may be emitted, especially in the case of volatile oils, floating layers or aromatic hydrocarbons.
This pollutes the atmosphere and causes exposure risks and odour
emissions for both remediators and residents and the surrounding
area.
5.3.2 Biological remediations
Physical remediation methods are characterised by mobilisation and
extraction of the contamination from the soil. Contaminations that
are bonded to the soil or sometimes also pure product will first have
to be dissolved or evaporate. The contamination vapours, contaminated groundwater and/or pure product that are released are treated
above ground level.
5.3.3 Biological remediations
Biological remediation methods are characterised by the stimulation of natural, biological degradation processes of contamination.
Only dissolved contaminations can be treated by micro-organisms.

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Aerobic degradation
When biological in-situ remediation methods are applied, the oil
contaminations are completely degrade into harmless end products
under the ground. Active stimulation of oil contaminations takes
place by creating an aerobic soil environment in combination with the
addition of extra nutrients. This produces biomass, heat, water and
carbon dioxide.
Anaerobic degradation
Naturally occurring anaerobic degradation is frequently very slow and
often incomplete. Stimulation of anaerobic degradation of BTEX is
applied. Sulphate or nitrates then act as the electron acceptor instead
of oxygen.
Oil types
Only the mobile, lighter oil fractions and aromatic components can
be effectively biologically degraded to a chain length of C10, at most
C12. To date, anaerobic degradation has only been demonstrated for
aromatic compounds.
Phased approach
In the case of extremely serious oil contaminations, for example with
pure product, stimulation of natural degradation is then often used
as a second remediation phase. First, the bulk of the contamination is
removed by means of physical and/or chemical remediation methods.
The remnant contamination is then biologically removed by means of
stimulated or natural degradation.
With biological stimulated remediations, no above-ground air and/or
water purification is needed. Refer to the methods table to see which
individual in-situ methods are suitable for the implementation of
biological remediation.

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5.3.4 Chemical remediations


Chemical remediations are characterised by the degradation of the
contamination with the injection on oxidative or reductive chemicals.
Oil and aromatics contaminations are oxidatively reduced with the
injection of hydrogen peroxide (Fentons reagents), ozone or combinations of these substances. This process is also known as in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO). Other oxidising agents are sodium permanganate or potassium permanganate or (activated) persulphate.

The classic groundwater extraction systems are gravitational pumps


in which the rise height difference - and therefore gravity - forces the
groundwater to flow towards an extraction filter. Extraction takes
place with the aid of an underwater pump or with the aid of an hanger
and a (central) suction pump or piston pump installed above ground
level. A suction pump can also be used to carry out vacuum pumping,
whereby the sources are filtered completely under the groundwater
level.

With the exception of hydrogen peroxide - which is often injected in


large quantities - only dissolved contaminations can be treated by the
chemicals. Contamination bonded to the soil or pure product will
therefore first have to be dissolved. The permeability, heterogeneity
and matrix requirements are all determining factors for the remediation yield. Other points of attention are possible damage to underground infrastructure and oxidation of peat layers, possibly causing
subsidence.

The extracted water is often first purified before it can be discharged


into sewers or surface water. Occasionally, the extracted water is
infiltrated again. However, infiltration frequently requires another
cleaning phase, especially for iron and/or sludge particles in order to
prevent blockage of the infiltration filters.

Oil types
As with biological process, only the mobile, lighter oil fractions and
aromatic components are easily aerobically degradable to a chain
length of C10, and maximum C12.

Measurement and collection section

In the case of oil and aromatics contaminations, Fentons reagents


is the most commonly used oxidising agent. More information on
chemical oxidation can be found in paragraphs 5.4.10 to and including 5.4.12 and the handbook ISCO, In-situ chemical oxidation.

Groundwater level
Lowering ground
water level

5.4 Individual remediation methods


The individual methods are listed in broad terms in the methods
table. This paragraph discusses several methods in more detail.
5.4.1 Classic groundwater extraction and/or infiltration
One or other form of groundwater extraction is frequently used in oil
remediation. The remediation principle consists simply of repeatedly
flushing the contaminated zone with clean groundwater from outside
the zone. This method is often called pump & treat.

Dewatering pump
Waste water purification

Gravitational pumping

Groundwater infiltration source (source Tauw)

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The fact that the dissolving of contamination is a slow process means


that this remediation method is not suitable for core treatment. The
method is suitable the remediation of plumes, where the contaminations is already dissolved (see conceptual model). A classic groundwater extraction does not flush the lubrication layer. The lubrication
layer is the zone around the groundwater level in which the bulk of
the oil contamination is usually located. This method is also unsuitable for core areas.
Floating layer removal
Gravitational pumping is also occasionally used to remove floating layers. The ideas is that the drop in groundwater level forces the
floating layer to collect in the extraction source. This is where it can
be skimmed centrally. However, practical experience has shown that
floating layers do not clump together easily in this type of system.
Gravity is the driving force, but it is not powerful enough to move a
floating layer against the heterogeneity and resistance of the soil. This
method of floating layer remediation only has a chance of success with
extremely mobile types of contamination, extremely permeable sand/
gravel soils and extremely large quantities of contamination.

Oil in the soil

5.4.2 Soil air extraction


Another, almost classic, in-situ remediation method is soil air extraction. This involves placing filters through which soil air is extracted in
the unsaturated zone. As with groundwater extraction, the remediation principle consists of repeatedly flushing the contaminated area
with clean air from the surroundings or atmosphere.
The extracted soil air vapour is frequently cleaned underground
before it is permitted to be discharged into the atmosphere in accordance with the Nederlandse Emissie Richtlijnen (NER) (Netherlands
Emission Guidelines). Naturally, the method is only applicable for
the removal of volatile oil components. In practice this means that to
approximately C12 can be treated.
Soil air extraction can also be effective for the stimulation of the
evaporation of pure product. As is the case with groundwater extraction, it must always be realised that it is difficult to flush the lubrication zone - the higher resistance will simply allow less air to flow here
than through the higher parts of the unsaturated zone.

Biological stimulation
In soil remediation, it is important to remediate where the contamination is located. This means additional food must be added at the
contamination site in order to stimulate micro-organisms. Groundwater is a means of transport in this process. It can be used to stimulate aerobic or anaerobic degradation processes. Extra food, such as
nutrients (N & P source), dissolved oxygen (salts) or - with anaerobically stimulated degradation - nitrates or sulphates are distributed
through the soil strata by means of groundwater extraction. Injection
of the food can take place periodically (shock load dosing) or continuously with infiltration equipment.
The extraction/infiltration can be stopped as soon as the food has
been distributed sufficiently. Blockage of the filter is an important
point of attention in the design in the case of continuous infiltration
of dissolved nutrients, etc.
Soil air extraction

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Depending on the thickness of the unsaturated zone and the soil


conditions, in practice soil air extraction filters are placed at intervals
of 4 to a maximum of 10 metres. The zone of effect is smallest in thin,
unsaturated soils with a low level of permeability.
The soil air filters are connected to a central soil air suction unit above
ground level. In broad terms, this consists of a measuring and collection section, a moisture separator and a ventilator.
Bioventing
Bioventing is in fact the same as soil air extraction in the unsaturated
zone, but the intention is aeration in order to stimulate aerobic degradation. The extraction debits can be minimal here. Just sufficient
to introduce oxygen into the soil, but low enough to prevent the soil
from drying out.

Oil in the soil

The strong vacuum forces the influx of a maximum quantity of soil air
and groundwater, as much as the soil in question can supply. This sucks
the filters empty at a faster rate than groundwater and/or product can
flow in, which produces an extremely dynamic extraction regime and
reduces the risk of preferential streams. The fact that the filter are placed
specifically in the lubrication zone means that this zone is also treated
much more effectively than with classic groundwater or soil air extraction.
The remediation principle behind MPE is also the flushing of the contaminated zone with clean air or water from the surrounding area. In
addition, a high level of underpressure is created, which maximises the
influx and evaporation. This method is particularly efficient due to the
focused extraction in the lubrication zone.
Once above ground, vapour and groundwater/product are separated.
Both streams are then purified before being discharged. A disadvantage
of MPE is the combined extraction of vapours, groundwater and pure
product.
The fact that the filters are placed in the lubrication zone means that
they have a limited zone of effect. For an effective MPE (floating layer)
remediation the filters must be placed at intervals of 3 to 5 or 6 metres,

Water separator
Exhaust fumes

5.4.3 Multiple Phase Extraction (MPE)


Multiple Phase Extraction is also known as Two Phase Extraction
or Three Phase Extraction. Terms such as bioslurping are also used
for this method. MPE involves creating a strong vacuum in short
filters. The filters are placed in the lubrication zone, partially in the
groundwater and partially just above it. The strong vacuum extracts
a mixture of soil air and groundwater. This system is also extremely
efficient for the removal of floating layers. Somewhat less mobile floating layers such as diesel contaminations can also be remediated with
this method.

Measurement and collection section

Waste water/purification
Waste pump
Air stream
Lubrication zone

Water stream

Multiple phase extraction

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depending on the local soil structure. The MPE unit usually consists
of a measurement and collection section, a moisture separator with an
automatic drainage pump and a strong underpressure ventilator (to
almost absolute vacuum)
Bioslurping
Bioslurping is a certain type of Multiple Phase Extraction (MPE)
whereby the lubrication zone is intensively aerated. This method is
suitable precisely for the active aeration of this soil zone. The purpose
of the MPE system is to stimulate aerobic degradation.
5.4.4 Compressed air injection (in-situ stripping)
If compressed air injection is used to mobilise a contamination, the
remediation principle is the in-situ stripping of the contamination.
Air flowing through the soil evaporates the contamination from the
water to the air phase. This is why this method is always combined
with Multiple Phase Extraction or soil air extraction in order to intercept the emitted vapours

Pressure vessel
Measurement and
collection section

Compressor

Air bubbles

Only mobile, volatile oil components can be stripped from the soil by
means of compressed air injection. The compressed air filters are connected to a central, above-ground, compressed air injection unit. the
compressed air unit consists of a measurement and collection section
connected to an oil-free compressor.
The required filter distances are highly dependent on the local situation, such as soil structure, groundwater level and heterogeneity. In
the average oil contamination in The Netherlands, with a groundwater level of 2-3 metres below ground level, the filters are usually placed
at a depth of 6 to 7 metres, approximately 4 to 5 metres from each
other.
Air sparging
The injection of compressed air not only strips contaminations from
the soil, but the soil is also aerated of course, which stimulates aerobic
degradation processes. The effect of air sparging can be increased
with the application of micropore filters. Smaller air bubbles create
a larger exchange surface, thereby enabling oxygen to dissolve more
effectively.
5.4.5 Stimulation of aerobic degradation:
regular or shock load injections
Besides with the (continuous) injection of compressed air, aerobic
degradation can also be stimulated in the saturated zone with regular
or one-off injections of oxygen release compounds.
Oxygen Release Compound (ORC)
ORC is a phosphate-magnesium peroxide compound that releases
oxygen to its surroundings for a period of approximately 12 months
after a one-off injection into the groundwater. The advantage of
this method is that a one-off or regular addition is sufficient and no
installations are required above ground.
Oxygen release salts
As an alternative to ORC, it is also possible to inject oxygen release
salts: calcium peroxide or sodium percarbonate. These salts also

Air bubbles

Compressed air injection

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slowly release oxygen. There is still little practical experience with


these salts in The Netherlands.
ISOC
With ISOC 100% pure oxygen is injected into the soil through as
microporous filter.
Injection of hydrogen peroxide
Injection of hydrogen peroxide not only causes chemical degradation, a great deal of the injected hydrogen peroxide will convert into
oxygen and water. This oxygen can form an excellent source for
aerobic biological degradation. ISCO (In Situ Chemical Oxidation) is
sometimes also combined with BISCO, whereby the B stands for the
aerobic biological degradation of remnant contaminations that are
left behind after chemical oxidation.
With both ORC oxygen release salts, ISOC and BISCO, it is
theoretically possible to achieve unsaturated oxygen concentrations
of >10 mg/l. In principle, the oxygen is spread by means of diffusion
or with the natural groundwater flow. Naturally, extra spreading can
be accelerated by means of groundwater extraction. With the exception of BISCO, the quantities of oxygen that are added are frequently
minimal. Although it is not possible to achieve unsaturated oxygen
concentrations with continuous injection of compressed air, it is possible to add a great deal more oxygen in total with this type of system
in a cost-effective manner. This means that ORC, oxygen release
salts, ISOC are especially suitable for sites with low loads and primarily dissolved (remnant) concentrations. Compressed air and BISCO
can remove larger loads biologically, but are still not suitable for the
removal of pure product.
Anaerobic degradation: Intermittent or shock load injections
Aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene or toluene can also be degraded anaerobically. the degradation takes place under iron, nitrate
or sulphate reducing conditions. (Regular) addition of nitrates or
sulphates can stimulate this degradation process. Both nitrates and
sulphates can be dissolved in extremely high concentrations and
therefore be injected into the soil easily. (Temporary) groundwater

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extraction can be used to accelerate the spreading of the catalysts.


Here too, the method only has a chance of success with low loads and
dissolved concentrations.
5.4.6 Auxiliary method: heat (electroreclamation)
The soil and groundwater temperature in The Netherlands is
approximately 10 oC. Biological processes occur much faster at
30 - 40 oC. Biologically stimulated remediation will therefore be much
more effective if the soil is heated. Heating can take place in a number
of ways. Electroreclamation is a regularly used method, whereby
electrodes are used to transmit an alternating current that heats the
soil. Other methods are Six Phase Heating (also electrical heating see 5.4.9) or heating by means of the injection of hydrogen peroxide, which produces oxygen, water and heat in addition to chemical
oxidation.
5.4.7 Auxiliary method: surfactants
Micro-organisms can only degrade dissolved contaminants. The
introduction of surfactants can help to dissolve contaminations into
the groundwater more effectively and thereby make them available for
biological degradation. This method is now rarely used in practice.
Surfactants are dissolved in extracted and purified groundwater and
then infiltrated into the soil.
5.4.8 Steam-stimulated extraction
With steam-stimulated extraction (SSE), the soil is flushed horizontally with steam. A grid pattern of steam injection points and
central extraction points are used to extract (hot) water, product and
steam. This heating accelerates the evaporation of the contamination,
increases solubility and lowers viscosity. Above ground, pure product,
water and water vapour are separated, condensed and cleaned. The
method is particularly suitable for high concentrations of contamination (floating layers). However, the purification installation must be
able to process a great deal of contamination load in a short period of
time.

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5.4.9 Six Phase heating


With Six Phase heating, electrodes are used to heat the soil. This
method uses the electrical resistance of the soil. The soil can be heated
to such a degree that steam is created in-situ, as it were. The method is
particularly suitable for less permeable soils.
A well designed extraction measure is extremely important in both
SGE and Six Phase Heating in order to maintain control over the
direction of the steam front. This is in order to prevent unsafe situations.
5.4.10 Chemical oxidation with Fentons reagents
Fentons reagents are used particularly in the case of a large contamination load (source removal). Fentons reagents is a combination of
hydrogen peroxide and bivalent iron. The bivalent iron functions as
a catalyst for the oxidation of various compounds with the aid of hydrogen peroxide. This produces (extremely) reactive hydroxyl radicals
in accordance with the following reaction:
H2O2 + Fe2+

OH* + OH- + Fe3+

The strength of the hydroxyl radicals that are produced lies in the
breaking of C=C, C-C and C-H bonds that are present throughout
organic contaminations. De ring structure of aromatic compounds
are easier to treat than the chains in aliphatic compounds.
The hydroxyl radical is an extremely powerful, non-selective oxidant.
It reacts quickly and frequently produces complete degradation, with
the end products being H20 and CO2. Product is frequently mobilised
(vapours) by the exothermic reactions. this remediation method is
therefore frequently combined with soil air extraction.
Modified Fentons Reagents
In modified Fentons Reagents the hydrogen peroxide is packaged in
a kind of gel, which retards the reaction speed, extends the period of
activity and maintains the effect at higher pH levels. This does reduce
the reaction strength somewhat.
When hydrogen peroxide is introduced, a (large) part of the oxidants
will automatically degrade into oxygen. This added oxygen will also
have a positive effect on natural degradation. It has been demonstrated that chemical oxidation does not sterilise the soil, and therefore
has a positive effect on the biological degradation processes.
5.4.11 Chemical oxidation with ozone and perozone
Ozone or ozone in combination with hydrogen peroxide (Perozone) can also be used as an oxidising agent. In contrast to Fentons
Reagents, ozone is added in gaseous form, possibly in combination
with a hydrogen peroxide solution. The level of ozone production is
frequently relatively low. This makes the method particularly suitable
for low contamination load or only dissolved concentrations.
5.4.12 Chemical oxidation with permanganate
In theory, it is also possible to oxidise aromatic contaminations
with sodium or potassium permanganate. However, permanganate has a lower oxidising strength, which is probably why it is not
used frequently for oil/aromatics contaminations. The advantage of
permanganate is that it remains active for a long period. This makes

Zone of effect of in-situ chemical oxidation, visible after excavation (source Tauw)

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the method suitable for low contamination loads or only dissolved


concentrations.
5.5 Important technical points of attention
It can be asserted that the following points of attention are important
for every remediation:
Intermittent systems
Constant extraction or injection leads to the formation of preferential streams and poor remediation yields. This is why the
remediation systems are preferably intermittently activated with
timers and/or controlled valves.
Directed systems
It sounds logical, but remediation must take place at the location
of the contamination. This means that remediation filters must
be placed in a directed manner, in the correct contaminated soil
layer in order to deliver food, oxidising agents or oxygen to where
they are needed.
Intensive remediation system
In general, remediation filters only have a limited horizontal effect. Remediation filters are frequently required at intervals of a
few metres for effective oil remediation.
Naturally, the horizontal surface of the contamination must be
covered horizontally.
Continuous monitoring & correction
Effective remediation deserves constant attention - sampling
of influent/effluent, soil and groundwater. the results must be
expertly interpreted, and the approach to the remediation must
be corrected if necessary. This can vary from the re-adjustment
of the existing remediation systems to the placement of extra
filters and equipment or the deployment of an alternative method.
Process control of an (in-situ) soil remediation must take place
under BRL 6001 of 6002. A cyclical approach to measurement and
correction is preferred.

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5.6 Remediation period


Naturally, the remediation period of an oil remediation is highly
dependent on the local situation, the remediation goal that is desired
and the method used. Some general remediation periods can be specified:
In general, we can say that chemical oxidative remediations (Fentons)
progress fastest. Two or three rounds of oxidation, each lasting for one
month, are often sufficient. This can often limit the oxidative remediation to approximately six months. Oxidative remediations are usually applied in the source areas. Other intensive source methods also
produce fast results, such as Steam-Stimulated Extraction of Six Phase
Heating. It must be pointed out that there is frequently still the need
for remnant or plume remediation after source remediation. This is
approached more extensively, and therefore requires a longer period,
which makes it a decisive factor for the total remediation period.
If there is a floating layer, it normally requires 1-2 years before this
has been completely removed, depending on the thickness and scope.
the remnant remediation that is carried out with, for example, soil
air extraction, compressed air injection, groundwater extraction or
aerobic biological stimulation often takes another 2-3 years. Remediation periods longer than 3-4 years or flushing more than 3-5 times
frequently does not produce any additional yield, on condition that
the remediation is executed and guided in the correct manner.
Under the provisions of the current Soil Protection Act the aim is to
arrive at a stable end situation, without aftercare. This means that the
active remediation can stop as soon as it is expected that the remnant
concentrations will be stable. Active aftercare, frequently consisting of
periodic monitoring of measuring pipes, is required in order to check
and prove this stability. A period of several years is often agreed for
this active aftercare with the competent authority.

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Intermezzo: Risks
between Africa and Assen
More than 1800 people work at the Schepersmaat in Assen.
Many of them work in the imposing head office. In 2005, the
company executed around 55 soil remediation projects, of
which 14 have been completed and a total of 181,000 tons
of soil has been excavated. The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij takes its duty of care for humans and the environment seriously. Hans Huissoon and Auke van der Veen, both
working as senior civil and structural engineer for NAM: In
the course of time we have developed partially into an important centre of expertise in the field of soil remediation and
soil management. Risk perception often differs from place
to place and from country to country. In some countries we
do not go far enough with our measures, and people in other
countries feel that we go much too far. it is a good thing that
we enforce our own internal environmental standard regulations as well as legislation.
Our soil remediation activities are carried out at sites where have
extracted oil and gas. For example, spillage of oil into the soil may
have occurred there in one way or another, and it must be removed.
Our point of departure is always to deliver the sites in an acceptable
condition as much as possible in consultation with the original owner
and the government. Our approach combines economic development,
environmental protection and social responsibility. These are core
values in our company. We also always try to find a subtle balance
between financial effort and environmental yield. This is sometimes
difficult to achieve. When carrying out our work we are frequently
confronted with obstacles to effective solutions. We feel that Dutch
legislators occasionally overestimate the risks associated with oil in
the soil. Naturally, there are a great many risks in the field of public
health, the environment, nature and the ecology. Without ignoring
the problem, we must not forget that oil is a natural product and that

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Oil in the soil

is generally degraded fairly well in the soil, depending on the type of


oil. Nature knows what to do with it. In this sense it is legitimate to
ask whether we are being asked too much.
From restrictive straightjacket to flexible custom-made work
After the poison scandal in Lekkerkerk the initial reaction from the
government was: Never again. Stringent standards and target values
were then anchored into the laws and regulations. This went very far,
but it was understandable in view of the seriousness of the situation at
that time. However, these laws were insufficient in everyday practice.
Every situation is different. we have never encountered two identical
situations in the soil remediation sector. The lawmakers intention
was to contribute to the resolution of the problem. But the hard and
compelling nature of the law meant that there was hardly any leeway
for flexible site-specific solutions. There was little room for creative
solutions. The lawmakers have altered the policy somewhat over the
years, and the current credo is standard where possible and custommade where obligatory. However, our preference is for an enabling
act that specifies the final goals and simultaneously creates leeway for
flexibility in the manner in which these goals are achieved. this will
enable you to achieve results and constantly maintain the balance
between environmental investment and environmental yield. All of
this does not detract from the fact that we must always work within
the framework of the law by definition.
Factors of success and failure
One government is not the other. Some governmental organisations are more flexible than others in terms of granting permits and
enforcement. One creates space, the other immediately locks the door.
We need the essential leeway in order to be able to arrive at workable
solutions. A positive practical example is the soil remediation of the
IJsselmonde - Ridderkerk region. Excellent, workable agreements were
made with Rotterdam municipal council on the way in which sites
would be delivered. The agreement in the lease contract was that we
would leave sites as we had found them after the completion of our
work. A complication was that the region had once been agricultural
land but had now, after so many years, developed into an urban area.

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approach is increasingly emphasising prevention. The issue of actual


cleaning and remediation is decreasing in importance, and the art is
now especially to prevent contamination as much as possible. There
is a clear trend from soil remediation to soil management. This is a
package of management measures, varying from screening and maintenance to and including raising awareness. The wealth of expertise
that we have accumulated in The Netherlands in the last 15 to 20 years
here in The Netherlands is not in vain and will not be lost. We are
asked to use our experience and the methods and technologies that
have been developed elsewhere with increasing frequency. For example, we were used during the creation of soil remediation programmes
and prevention campaigns in England and Scotland. However you
look at it, the importance of the soil will always be a high priority.
However, we see a slow but sure shift from remediation to prevention
and management in our duty of care.

Naturally, that is something completely different. Nevertheless, we


found a solution in collaboration with the municipal council. The
success had everything to do with respect for each others position
and importance. That forms the basis of a relationship of trust, and
that is essential for the collaborative formulation of solutions. Open
and transparent communication is also an important precondition.
The opposite is also true. If you do not know what each others position, interests and goals are, cooperation becomes more of a game of
chance. And that is never the intention of you are seriously striving to
generate a solution for complex soil contamination.
From remediation to soil management
We are now hard at work on treating the historic soil contamination
sites and have made a great deal of progress. We have mapped everything out and the urgent cases has been dealt with. Our policy and

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Risks between Africa and Assen


Naturally, when executing remediation, legislation is the hard
reference framework within which we work. This does not take away
from the fact that the perception of risks differs. From site to site and
country to country. Dutch legislators go quite far in this in comparison with other countries. We feel that this is sometimes too far, which
makes the legislation a restrictive straightjacket. This is very different
in a country like Gabon. According to the opinions that prevail there,
an oil contamination in the rainforest is a problem as long as you can
still see the oil. When you no longer see the oil, the problem is solved.
The risk perception there is at the level of what you cannot see cannot hurt you. So the approach could be geared to removing the oil
and cleaning the site. A form of visual remediation. This is not good
enough for us. We go further. The site is only authorised when it is
demonstrated that neither health nor safety risks are an issue. In these
situations it is fortunate that we also enforce our own environmental
standard regulations. We know that the eyes of the whole world, in a
manner of speaking, are constantly on us. We must always be able to
account for our actions more than 100%.

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Finances
6.1 Introduction
Naturally, the remediation costs are highly dependent on the local situation. Refer to the digital guideline Management and Recovery of soil
quality (www.bodemrichtlijn.nl) for an indication for each method.
Unit prices for remediation methods are difficult to generate. Here are
a number of rules of thumb.
6.2 Source remediation
If the source is easily accessible or if the concentrations are extremely
high or a floating layer is present, excavation is frequently financially
very favourable in relation to an in-situ approach. Of the in-situ
remediation methods, steam-stimulated extraction, six-phase heating
and chemical oxidation with Fentons reagents are the most expensive
per m of soil volume treated, followed by multiple phase extraction
and the more traditional in-situ methods such as soil air extraction,
groundwater extraction (pump & treat) and compressed air injection.
Note well, it is frequently true that the more intensive the remediation method, the faster the result is achieved. This means that there is
always a turning point and that a less costly method may eventually
become more expensive than a short (cost) intensive approach due to
the longer remediation period.
6.3 Plume or remnant remediation
Of the plume methods, chemical oxidation with ozone and/or perozone is probably the most expensive, followed by stimulation of the
aerobic degradation by means of compressed air injection and/or soil
air extraction, possibly in combination with groundwater extraction and infiltration. Simple checking natural degradation processes
involves the lowest costs.

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6.4 Highly cost-determining factors


In general, source remediation is the most expensive part of an oil
remediation. Highly cost-determining elements in this include:
underground infrastructure of filters & pipes
maintenance of water and air purification installations
monitoring & correction
energy consumption
activated carbon or air purification
degree of iron or calcium in water streams to be purified
remediation period
discharge costs
The initial costs (= installation and start-up costs, installation of
filters, plant technology) are frequently extremely substantial. There is
also a clear link with the type of oil: the more volatile the easier, faster
and therefore cheaper to remediate.

6.5 Risk of failure


Risks of failure differ for each method. In general it can be said that
striving to achieve an unrealistic remediation goal, insufficient insight
into the conceptual categorisation of the contamination in the sub
soil, selection of incorrect methods and an insufficiently intensive
approach or monitoring greatly increase the likelihood of failure.
The risks of failure are usually the smallest with remediation systems
and/or practical remediation goals that are apparently more expensive.
There must be a fallback scenario if a remediation fails - for example,
if it is discovered that the contamination is not yet stable during the
active aftercare phase, measures must be taken to ensure that this goal
is still achieved.

Another clear link is between the costs and the removal yield. As was
described in chapter 5, the majority of the contamination is often removed at the start of the project. The concentrations then frequently
decrease to an asymptotic course. This asymptotic course means that
the costs of removing the last bit of contamination are relatively high
(see diagram 9).

Costs
Stable end situation proven
Concentrations

Active remediation

Active aftercare

Passive aftercare

Diagram 9: Asymptotic course costs - removal yield

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Oil in the soil

Summary and conclusions


Oil in the soil would seem to be an easy subject. Everyone,
from specialists and experts to and including dilettantes,
know what we are talking about. This is different in practice.
Oil is a troublesome substance that is not easy to define.
Nevertheless, definition and insight into the behaviour and
spreading of oil in the soil is essential.

start-up costs - are often substantial. In addition, there is usually a


clear link between costs and remediation yield. The majority of the
contamination is removed at the start of a project, and the costs are
relatively low per kilogram of contamination removed. The final
stages are the most difficult - the remediation of the final remnants
of contamination are frequently relatively the most expensive per
kilogram of load removed.
All in all, it can be asserted that oil is not what it seems. Oil in the
soil is neither black nor white, but a complex issue with an infinite
number of grey areas. An as accurate as possible insight into the
behaviour and spreading, nature and scope of the oil in the soil is
essential for balanced consideration and a conscious choice of the
remediation method that will eventually be used. A rapid reduction
of the greatest risks is and remains an important motive in this.

Mineral oil is one of the most common substances that can cause local contaminations in the soil and groundwater. The risks associated
with oil in the soil are diverse and vary from risks of exposure (for
humans and the ecosystem) and damage to materials to the danger
of fire and explosions. Besides the differences in actual risks, there
are differences in the perception of risks. One person perceives risks
in one way, and others in other ways. Hard information is required
on the composition, behaviour and spreading of the oil is required in
order to reduce the risks and to be able to remediate the contaminated
soil.
In-depth research on the nature, scope and characterisation of the
contamination is required prior to the commencement of the actual
remediation. Countless research strategies can be used for this. The
research results are determining factors for the choice of research
strategy and the remediation method that will eventually be used.
The costs of the soil remediation are highly dependent on the local
situation. In general, source remediation is the most costly part of
oil remediation. The initial costs - here we mean the installation and

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Appendices

SKB-project PT5408
Application of the Sorbisampler in groundwater monitoring in the
context of groundwater remediation.
2.

1. Literature consulted
Franken et al. (1999)
Proposal for revised intervention values for petroleum hydrocarbons on base of fractions of petroleum hydrocarbons. RIVM Report
711701015. RIVM, Bilthoven, NL.

SKB-project PT4104
Diffusion Samplers.

Web sites
Overview of SKB measuring methods (method fan with measuring
and monitoring methods November 2004) www.skbodem.nl
Oil characterisation
www.oliekarakterisatie.nl
ROST
www.fugro-nederland.nl
MIP
www.fugro-nederland.nl
GGD
www.ggd.nl/kennisnet

Landelijke Vereniging van GGDen (2002)


Guideline for health risks caused by soil contamination.

Lijzen et al. (2001)


Technical evaluation of the intervention values for soil/sediment and
groundwater. RIVM report 711701023. RIVM, Bilthoven, NL.
Verbruggen (2004)
Environmental risk limits for mineral oil (Total Petroleum
Hydrocarbons). RIVM Rapport 601501021. RIVM, Bilthoven, NL.
VKB protocol 2001
Placement of hand drilling and measuring pipes, drawing up drilling
descriptions, taking soil samples and water levels, SIKB.

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VKB protocol 2002


The taking of groundwater samples, SIKB.

SKB-project PT5404
Knowledge transfer and implementation of oil characterisation.

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Colophon
Editing staff
Laurent Bakker
Tauw, Deventer
Marco van den Brand Hannover Milieu- en Veiligheidstechniek, Ede
Charles Pijls
Tauw, Deventer
Ingrid van Reijsen
SKB, Gouda
Gerben van der Sterren
The Three Engineers, TTE, Deventer
Readers group
G. Boer
L. Hansma
L. de Jong
R. Cornelisse
A. van de Vusse
P.M. van Es - Prins
J. Kuyper
D. Lud

BSB Zuid, s Hertogenbosch


Gemeente Dantumadeel, Damwoude
Jansma Wegen en Milieu, Drachten
Gemeente Waalwijk
Vusse Milieuadvies, Amsterdam
Kuiper & Burger, Advies- en Ingenieursbureau
Provincie Noord-Holland,
Directie SHV, Unit Vergunningen Bodem
Tauw

Final editing and interviews Ren Walenbergh



Walenbergh & Van Os, Utrecht
Design

Van Lint Vormgeving, Zierikzee

Visual material

Members of the editing board


Van Lint Vormgeving

February 2010

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