Chlorinated solvent contamination of soils and groundwater is an endemic problem at the Savannah River Site (SRS), and originated as by-products from the nuclear materials manufacturing process. Five nuclear reactors at the SRS produced special nuclear materials for the nation’s defense program throughout the cold war era. An important step in the process was thorough degreasing of the fuel and target assemblies prior to irradiation. Discharges from this degreasing process resulted in significant groundwater contamination that would continue well into the future unless a soil remediation action was performed. The largest reactor contamination plume originated from C-Reactor and an interim action was selected in 2004 to remove the residual trichloroethylene (TCE) source material by electrical resistance heating (ERH) technology. This would be followed by monitoring to determine the rate of decrease in concentration in the contaminant plume. Because of the existence of numerous chlorinated solvent sources around SRS, it was elected to generate in-house expertise in the design and operation of ERH, together with the construction of a portable ERH/SVE system that could be deployed at multiple locations around the site. This paper describes the waste unit characteristics, the ERH system design and operation, together with extensive data accumulated from the first deployment adjacent to the C-Reactor building. The installation heated the vadose zone down to 62 feet bgs over a 60 day period during the summer of 2006 and raised soil temperatures to over 200 oF. A total of 730 lbs of trichloroethylene (TCE) were removed over this period, and subsequent sampling indicated a removal efficiency of 99.4%.
Farrar, Mark E.; Morgenstern, Michael R.; Amari, Joseph A.; MacMurray, Annamarie; Killeen, Terry P.; and Blundy, Robert F.
"Electrical Resistance Heating Of Soils At C-Reactor At The Savannah River Site,"
Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water and Energy:
Vol. 13, Article 25.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/soilsproceedings/vol13/iss1/25