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Ground water leaching of organic pollutants from in situ retorted oil shale a mass transfer analysis

Ground water leaching of organic pollutants from in situ retorted oil shale a mass transfer analysis

Environmental Science & Technology 14(7): 831-835

The potential degradation of groundwater quality by organic pollutants leached from in situ retorted oil shale was assessed by conducting a mass transfer analysis of laboratory data. Two unique samples of in situ retorted oil shale were investigated. Results of these laboratory experiments were subjected to a mass transfer analysis to determine the rate-limiting step involved in the leaching of organic pollutants by groundwater. For 1 sample, internal diffusion through the porous infrastructure of retorted oil shale particles was the rate-controlling mass transfer step. For the other sample, no single rate-controlling step was conclusively identified, although internal diffusion played a key role in the overall leaching phenomenon. Since internal diffusion is an extremely slow mass transfer process, low, relatively constant levels of organic pollutants will appear in groundwater and persist for long periods of time. This implies a chronic, long-term groundwater pollution problem in areas of future in situ oil shale development.

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