Contributed by Josh Walz, Environmental Specialist, PPM Consultants
Groundwater is a vital natural resource that sustains ecosystems, supplies drinking water, and supports various industrial processes. However, it is susceptible to contamination from human activities and natural sources, rendering it unsafe for consumption and threatening the environment. To combat this issue, innovative technologies are constantly being explored, and one such method gaining prominence is groundwater remediation using ozone. Ozone, a powerful oxidizing agent, has shown remarkable potential in effectively and efficiently treating contaminated groundwater.
Ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is a highly reactive molecule that readily oxidizes a wide range of organic and inorganic compounds found in contaminated groundwater. Ozone groundwater remediation involves the injection of ozone gas into the affected aquifer, creating a reaction that facilitates the breakdown and removal of contaminants.
Ozone is created on-site using Corona Discharge Ozone Generators. The ozone generation process begins by drawing in ambient air which is filtered to remove dust, particles, and other contaminants. Air is then filtered once again to strip away nitrogen and moisture, in order to achieve a minimum of 90% pure oxygen. Oxygen is subsequently fed into a generator. Inside the generator, a high-voltage electrical field is created using a high-frequency power supply or corona discharge electrode. The electrode consists of one or more metal plates or tubes, typically made of stainless steel or other conductive materials. As the high-voltage electrical field is established, the oxygen molecules in the air are ionized, leading to the formation of oxygen ions and electrons. The oxygen ions then react with other oxygen molecules, resulting in the creation of ozone gas.
Ozone gas is then injected or sparged into the contaminated groundwater via wells or injection points strategically placed within the aquifer. The ozone rapidly dissolves in water, creating a highly reactive oxidant capable of degrading organic pollutants. As ozone comes into contact with organic contaminants, it oxidizes them, breaking them down into simpler, less harmful substances. This process eliminates a wide range of contaminants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and pharmaceuticals, effectively restoring the groundwater’s quality.
The oxidation of contaminants by ozone produces byproducts, such as carbon dioxide and water. These byproducts are typically harmless and naturally occurring, posing no additional risks. Unlike certain chemical remediation methods, ozone leaves no persistent residual chemicals in the treated water. This reduces the chances of secondary contamination and ensures the water’s suitability for reuse or discharge into the environment.
Ozone is highly effective against a broad spectrum of contaminants, making it suitable for remediating various types of groundwater contamination. Its rapid reaction kinetics enable efficient treatment, facilitating quicker cleanup and restoration of contaminated aquifers. PPM Consultants has many experts in the field of ozone remediation, and currently are remediating numerous sites across the southeast utilizing the technology. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about groundwater remediation using ozone.