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Surfactant-Based Technologies Applicable to Remediation of Mercury Pollution in the Subsurface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2005

Joseph D. Rouse
Affiliation:
Membrane Production and Development Department, Kuraray Co., Ltd., Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
Kay K. Bjornen
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma ConocoPhillips Co., Ponca City, Oklahoma
Richard W. Taylor
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
Bor-Jier Shiau
Affiliation:
Surbec-ART Environmental, LLC, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The extension of surfactant-based technologies for use in remediation of mercuric ion [Hg(II)]-impacted soils and ground-waters was explored. In concept, a target metal ion can be selectively sequestered and mobilized from the subsurface by a ligand solubilized in surfactant solution. The selected ligand, 1-decyl-2-thiourea (DTU), was used in this study due to its extremely high selectivity for Hg2+ and its compatibility with micellar solubilization. In batch semiequilibrium dialysis studies using a mixture of 0.3 mM DTU and 30 mM cetylpyridinium nitrate (a cationic surfactant), 99.8% of applied Hg(II) (0.1 mM) was retained, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of this ligand-surfactant system for separating the mobile contaminant from the waste stream. Isolation of the target metal ion from the complex is desirable to allow for ligand and surfactant reuse. As a function of the ligand type, this can be achieved by precipitation, pH stripping, or ligand-ligand exchange. In theory, for DTU, Hg(ll) removal can be done at an elevated pH by formation of a soluble mercury-hydroxide complex, which would pass a secondary ultrafiltration stage, allowing retention and reuse of the ligand-surfactant colloid. While only batch studies were conducted for this feasibility study, the possibility of utilizing flow-through ultrafiltration units coupled with contaminant isolation steps in pump-and-treat field applications is discussed.

Type
Remediation of Mercury
Copyright
© 2004 National Association of Environmental Professionals

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