Journal of contaminant hydrology

Transport of hydrocarbons from an emplaced fuel source experiment in the vadose zone at Airbase Vaerløse, Denmark.

PMID 16102873


An emplaced hydrocarbon source field experiment was conducted in the relatively homogeneous sandy geology of the vadose zone at Airbase Vaerløse, Denmark. The source (10.2 l of NAPL) consisted of 13 hydrocarbons (n-, iso- and cyclo-alkanes and aromates) and CFC-113 as a tracer. Monitoring in the 107 soil gas probes placed out to 20 m from the centre of the source showed spreading of all the compounds in the pore air and all compounds were measured in the pore air within a few hours after source emplacement. Seven of the fourteen compounds were depleted from the source within the 1 year of monitoring. The organic vapours in the pore air migrated radially from the source. The CFC-113 concentrations seemed to be higher in the deeper soil gas probes compared with the hydrocarbons, indicating a high loss of CFC-113 to the atmosphere and the lack of degradation of CFC-113. For the first days after source emplacement, the transport of CFC-113, hexane and toluene was successfully simulated using a radial gas-phase diffusion model for the unsaturated zone. Groundwater pollution caused by the vadose zone hydrocarbon vapours was only detected in the upper 30 cm of the underlying groundwater and only during the first 3 months of the experiment. Only the most water-soluble compounds were detected in the groundwater and concentrations decreased sharply with depth (approximately one order of magnitude within 10 cm depth) to non-detect at 30 cm depth. The groundwater table varied more than 1 m within the measurement period. However that did not influence the direction of the groundwater flow. Approximately 7 months after source emplacement the groundwater table rose more than 1 m within 1 month. That did not cause additional pollution of the groundwater.