About 15 years ago, a fuelling station in Roma (Italy) was dismissed. When underground tanks were removed, a subsoil NAPL (Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid) contamination came out, showing gasoline leakage from the reservoirs. Monitoring actions took place next and only recently radon dissolved in groundwater was measured for a year and used as tracer of NAPLs in view of its high solubility in these substances. The relative deficit of radon in polluted groundwater compared to radon in background “clean” water allowed us to detect areas where residual gasoline is still located. The source of pollution was identified in correspondence of former gasoline tanks, in agreement with direct measurements of dissolved NAPLs, mainly Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), a resistant and water-soluble additive introduced in gasoline in place of lead. A short and transient plume of MTBE was occasionally recognized. We hypothesize that the rise of groundwater table enhances removal of MTBE, likely adsorbed onto soil minerals such as zeolites, thus increasing its concentration in water. MTBE levels are then progressively reduced by natural attenuation processes, with half-life of about 23 days. Estimates of MTBE saturation from radon-deficit equations were not reliable because the aquifer is not homogeneous in terms of 226Ra distribution, porosity and emanation power and no equilibrium is reached for radon partitioning between NAPL and water.

Briganti, A., Tuccimei, P., Voltaggio, M., Carusi, C., Galli, G., Lucchetti, C. (2020). Assessing methyl tertiary butyl ether residual contamination in groundwater using radon. APPLIED GEOCHEMISTRY, 116, 104583 [10.1016/j.apgeochem.2020.104583].

Assessing methyl tertiary butyl ether residual contamination in groundwater using radon

Tuccimei P.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2020

Abstract

About 15 years ago, a fuelling station in Roma (Italy) was dismissed. When underground tanks were removed, a subsoil NAPL (Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid) contamination came out, showing gasoline leakage from the reservoirs. Monitoring actions took place next and only recently radon dissolved in groundwater was measured for a year and used as tracer of NAPLs in view of its high solubility in these substances. The relative deficit of radon in polluted groundwater compared to radon in background “clean” water allowed us to detect areas where residual gasoline is still located. The source of pollution was identified in correspondence of former gasoline tanks, in agreement with direct measurements of dissolved NAPLs, mainly Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), a resistant and water-soluble additive introduced in gasoline in place of lead. A short and transient plume of MTBE was occasionally recognized. We hypothesize that the rise of groundwater table enhances removal of MTBE, likely adsorbed onto soil minerals such as zeolites, thus increasing its concentration in water. MTBE levels are then progressively reduced by natural attenuation processes, with half-life of about 23 days. Estimates of MTBE saturation from radon-deficit equations were not reliable because the aquifer is not homogeneous in terms of 226Ra distribution, porosity and emanation power and no equilibrium is reached for radon partitioning between NAPL and water.
Briganti, A., Tuccimei, P., Voltaggio, M., Carusi, C., Galli, G., Lucchetti, C. (2020). Assessing methyl tertiary butyl ether residual contamination in groundwater using radon. APPLIED GEOCHEMISTRY, 116, 104583 [10.1016/j.apgeochem.2020.104583].
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/364858
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 5
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 3
social impact