U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Dense Nonaqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs)

Treatment Technologies

Thermal Processes: Ex Situ

This page identifies general resources that contain information on the design and implementation of thermal treatment systems applied to excavated soils. Information on technology applications specific to compounds within a DNAPL chemical class can be found in the class subsections listed to the right. More resources on thermal treatment technologies for a wide range of contaminants can be found in the Thermal Treatment: Ex Situ pages of Technology Focus.

Ex situ thermal desorption technology is a two-step, thermally induced physical separation process. Heat is applied to a contaminated material to vaporize contaminants into a gas stream, which is treated to meet regulatory requirements prior to discharge. Though most thermal desorption systems are applied to petroleum-contaminated sites, some are capable of handling contaminants ranging from high-molecular-weight PAHs and pesticides to chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as PCBs. This treatment is accomplished by one of two types of thermal desorption: low-temperature thermal desorption systems heat contaminated material between 200 to 600�F, while high-temperature systems heat the material between 600 and 1,000�F. Different models of thermal desorption systems are available, and thorough physical and chemical site investigations are required to select a system for a given application.

For More Information

Adobe PDF LogoApplication Guide for Thermal Desorption Systems
D. Pal, S. Fann, and S. Wight, Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center.
TR-2090-ENV, 256 pp, 1998

This document provides technical information on design and performance characteristics, cost, associated regulatory compliance issues, and contracting strategies for deploying thermal desorption systems at Navy installations. Two case studies of thermal desorption technology implementation—one to address BTEX contamination, the other TCE and PCE—illustrate the lessons learned.

Adobe PDF LogoOverview of Thermal Desorption Technology
R.J. Feeney, P.J. Nicotri, and D.S. Janke.
NFESC-CR-98-008-ENV, NTIS: ADA352083, 32 pp, 1998

This report summarizes a presentation on thermal desorption designs, identifies contaminants for which thermal desorption is known or believed to be effective, and presents generalized cost data for a range of project sizes.

Adobe PDF LogoThermal Desorption Implementation Issues: Engineering Forum Issue Paper
J. Blanchard and R. Stamnes.
EPA 540-F-95-031, 9200.5-224FS, 8 pp, 1997

This issue paper identifies issues and summarizes experiences with thermal desorption as a remedy for volatile organic compounds in soils. The issues presented reflect discussions with over 15 project managers and technical experts.

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