Evaluation of One Commercial Oleophilic Powder for NAPL-Absorbing Effectiveness


Evaluation of One Commercial Oleophilic Powder for NAPL-Absorbing Effectiveness

Jerry Zak (Enhanced Vision Environmental, LLC)
Tracy Blazicek (NYSEG)
Larry Matko (TestAmerica Laboratories, Inc.)


Jerry Zak

Enhanced Vision Environmental, LLC

Speaker Bio:

Jerry Zak has been directly involved with investigation and remediation of more than 25 MGP sites since 1991. He assisted as Project Manager for the Remedial Investigation of NYSEG’s Saranac Street Former MGP Site, the Saranac River, and Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York from 1996 to 2005, and has remained an engaged observer of NYSEG’s remediation of the landside Site and the River. In the summer of 2016, knowing that NYSEG was approaching remediation of the delta in Lake Champlain, he proposed several small but related tasks to NYSEG to evaluate innovative methods for cost and implementability comparison with typical hydraulic dredging. One task was evaluation of a long-available commercial polymer powder with claims of superlative NAPL and PAH-absorbing abilities. His presentation today describes the results of simple bench scale testing of a product that otherwise seems entirely unknown in the MGP industry.


NYSEG is responsible for remediation of MGP-affected sediments in Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Saranac River in Plattsburgh, New York. The sediments are 95% fine sand and coarser. The Total Organic Content (TOC) is low. Typical hydraulic dredging will be expensive due to the infrastructure required to deliver water and sediments to the landside, where they are dewatered, managed, and the entire volume is trucked to the nearest economical disposal point. As a result, NYSEG elected to evaluate some of the latest relevant technologies and innovative approaches that could reduce costs. Sediment washing, a successfully demonstrated method (where silt and clay do not predominate) that has little track record otherwise, separates the NAPL, the finest fines, and most PAHs from the sediments. This subset is disposed of, but the washed sediments can be returned to the delta. The engineering and financial aspects of this approach are being evaluated for overall practicality and cost differences. A second technology – hydrophobic and oleophilic powder that will not sink and that has been on the market for years – was also evaluated for its ability to absorb NAPL, sheen, and PAHs. First, simple bench scale tests were run to confirm effective absorption of coal tar DNAPL and sheen, as well as continued floatation and simple removal of the powder. The results generally indicated that the powder did absorb NAPL and sheen.  The next step was a cooperative laboratory trial of the powder with TestAmerica Laboratories, Inc., under laboratory grade quality assurance/quality control conditions.  Results are pending.  If laboratory results are positive, field trials with analytical sampling (before and after) are planned for summer 2017. Coal tar, sand, and water will be mixed in 250 gallon “tote” containers. This will be followed by introduction of the powder and extreme agitation to determine whether the powder effectively removes NAPL, sheen, and PAHs. If the powder works as advertised, is not cost-prohibitive, and it can be mated well with other mechanics of remediation, it will go to a pilot test in the sediments at the site.

To view the full Agenda for MGP 2017 view this link:


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