Simulating Remediation of Trichloroethylene in Fractured Bedrock by Thermal Conductive Heating Using the Numerical Model TMVOC
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A thermal conductive heating (TCH) pilot test was conducted at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) in West Trenton, New Jersey in 2009 in collaboration with TerraTherm, Inc., the Naval Facilities Engineering Services Center and the United States Geological Survey. The NAWC site was historically used as a jet engine testing facility from the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. During this time, the subsurface was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) which was a common solvent used at the facility. The pilot test consisted of 15 heater/extraction wells installed to a depth of 16.8 m in weathered mudstone and operated for 102 days. Rock core samples were taken pre- and post-remediation to measure the initial TCE concentrations and evaluate the effect the TCH pilot test had. The data collected during the pilot test was used to create a two-dimensional (2D) finite difference model using TMVOC. TMVOC is part of the TOUGH 2 family of codes and is a numerical model that is capable of simulating multiphase flow, heat transfer and transport of volatile organic compounds in three-dimensional heterogenous porous media or fractured rock. The 2D model was used as a screening model to investigate TCE removal from the rock matrix when heating for 100 days with a similar heating pattern to what was employed at the NAWC site. The numerical domain incorporated three primary fractures with competent bedrock in between. As the test pilot was conducted in the weathered bedrock zone, a sensitivity analysis was first completed on the matrix permeability to help to match the TCE removal from the pilot test. The pilot test had a 63.5% removal of TCE from the study area compared to 67% from the baseline model. A limited sensitivity analysis was completed which investigated how the matrix porosity and rate of energy application would have on the success of TCE removal from the rock matrix. It revealed that the TCE removal increases with increased matrix porosity and increased rate of energy application.