Frequent spills of Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPLs), such as petroleum products or chlorinated solvents, occur all around the world contaminating the soil vadose zone or the aquifer. In order to trace the presence of these substances, radon concentration in soil gas can be employed because of its high solubility in NAPLs. Radon available in the soil pores accumulates in the NAPLs producing a local decrease of its concentration in the vicinity of contaminated areas. Thus radon minima in the vadose zone can be used to localize NAPL plumes indirectly. The suitability of this method is here checked by laboratory simulation of a gasoline spill within a known volume of soil. Radon activity concentration strongly drops down right after the injection of gasoline and progressively increases in the following days. This trend is compared with data from a simultaneous experiment carried out on a volume of the same soil, not contaminated by NAPL. Finally, an example of field measurements within a site affected by NAPL contamination is documented. Mapping of soil radon concentration at 80 cm depth shows an area where radon deficit is evident. This region is aligned along the directions of the groundwater flow induced by pumping for safety operation of the plant. Radon negative anomalies are not due to low gas permeability and are not correlated with soil CO<inf>2</inf>. The comparison of soil gas data with those from nearby background areas confirm the soundness of premises.

Tracing NAPLs contamination in the vadose zone using soil radon / Tuccimei, Paola; De Simone, Gabriele; Curatolo, Pierpaolo; Giorgi, Riccardo; Lucchetti, Carlo; Castelluccio, Mauro; Calì, Angiolo. - In: RENDICONTI ONLINE DELLA SOCIETÀ GEOLOGICA ITALIANA. - ISSN 2035-8008. - 33(2015), pp. 100-103.

Tracing NAPLs contamination in the vadose zone using soil radon

TUCCIMEI, Paola;DE SIMONE, GABRIELE;LUCCHETTI, CARLO;CASTELLUCCIO, Mauro;
2015

Abstract

Frequent spills of Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPLs), such as petroleum products or chlorinated solvents, occur all around the world contaminating the soil vadose zone or the aquifer. In order to trace the presence of these substances, radon concentration in soil gas can be employed because of its high solubility in NAPLs. Radon available in the soil pores accumulates in the NAPLs producing a local decrease of its concentration in the vicinity of contaminated areas. Thus radon minima in the vadose zone can be used to localize NAPL plumes indirectly. The suitability of this method is here checked by laboratory simulation of a gasoline spill within a known volume of soil. Radon activity concentration strongly drops down right after the injection of gasoline and progressively increases in the following days. This trend is compared with data from a simultaneous experiment carried out on a volume of the same soil, not contaminated by NAPL. Finally, an example of field measurements within a site affected by NAPL contamination is documented. Mapping of soil radon concentration at 80 cm depth shows an area where radon deficit is evident. This region is aligned along the directions of the groundwater flow induced by pumping for safety operation of the plant. Radon negative anomalies are not due to low gas permeability and are not correlated with soil CO2. The comparison of soil gas data with those from nearby background areas confirm the soundness of premises.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/308264
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