The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Soil Vapor Extrusion

Introduction

Soil Vapor Extraction is a common remediation technology for treating soils in the vadose zone that are contaminated with volatile compounds. In general, soil vapor extraction (SVE) consists of a screened well (or wells) placed in the vadose zone, which is either contaminated or overlying a contaminated groundwater source. Air is drawn through the contaminated soil, where it mixes with contaminated vapors and is then drawn out through the well. At the ground surface, the contaminated vapor is treated and then released. Figure 1 presents a schematic of a generic SVE system. This has been proven to be an effective treatment method for many volatile organic compounds, among other contaminants, at many sites, worldwide. In the following sections, a fundamental background of SVE is presented, followed by an overview of the design and operation of an SVE system. Advantages and disadvantages of the method are highlighted and two representative case studies are presented. 

Figure 1

Figure 1. Schematic of a Generic SVE System (USACE, 2002)

 

 

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