Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 393–405 | Cite as

Role of NAPL Thermal Properties in the Effectiveness of Hot Water Flooding

  • Denis M. O’CarrollEmail author
  • Brent E. Sleep


Hot water flooding is a thermal nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) recovery technology originally developed in the petroleum industry that has recently been proposed for enhanced recovery of NAPLs in the contaminated subsurface. This technology, however, has received relatively little laboratory or numerical modeling investigation in the contaminant hydrology community. In this study the utility of flooding NAPL contaminated source zones at elevated water temperatures was investigated. Simulations were conducted using 16 different geostatistical representations of an actual field site. Two NAPLs were selected for this study—a light NAPL with hydraulic properties that have moderate temperature dependencies and a dense NAPL with significant viscosity temperature dependency. For these two NAPLs, flooding the source zone with water at elevated temperatures resulted in enhanced NAPL recovery. However, injection of hot water also resulted in accelerated downward movement of coal tar DNAPL due to the reduced viscosity at elevated temperatures. NAPL recovery was also dependent on the source zone architecture with greater NAPL mass recovery when the NAPL was localized in a small volume at high saturations. These results suggest that hot water flooding can significantly speed up the recovery of viscous NAPLs and, as such, is a powerful technique for the remediation of viscous NAPLs.


NAPL Hot water Thermal Remediation Groundwater 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Civil & Environmental EngineeringThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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