Sorption Treatability Studies

Sorption treatability studies are bench-scale laboratory tests that compare sorption treatment technologies to treat compounds of concern in sediment porewater or groundwater.

Our treatability studies can help you understand how effective sorption is likely to be at your site:

We evaluate monitored natural recovery and monitored natural attenuation in sediment.

  • Measuring the rate and extent of intrinsic biological and abiotic degradation

  • Evaluating acclimation periods for natural microbial populations

We study use of enhanced monitored natural recovery in sediment.

  • Measuring sediment cap performance

  • Assessing feasibility of bioaugmentation

  • Selecting electron donors and acceptors and finding best doses

  • Estimating enhanced degradation rates at your site

We investigate sequestration processes in sediments and groundwater.

  • Evaluating sorbents (like activated carbon) and determining appropriate application amounts

  • Investigating how the presence of benthic organisms will influence treatment

We evaluate sorptive media performance in water and wastewater treatment systems.

  • Assessing and helping select sorptive media based on site-specific sorption coefficients and RSSCT performance

  • Estimating treatment performance of the media at the site

  • Determining the total volume of water that can be treated with the media and reactor size

Clients reach out to SiREM to understand whether to choose sorption to remediate sediment or groundwater aquifers or to sequester compounds of concern during treatment of water or wastewater. SiREM’s bench-scale studies efficiently compare various treatment technologies, testing multiple conditions concurrently. The comparisons provide the flexibility to assess changes to the remediation strategy so it will be practical in the field.

These studies can be used to evaluate natural attenuation and natural recovery of compounds of concern from groundwater and sediments or to evaluate the use of amendments (including granular activated carbon, powdered activated carbon, colloidial activated carbon, and zeolites) to immobilize compounds of concern. In treatment-system settings, rapid small scale column tests (RSSCTs) can be used to estimate the life of treatment reactors.

We conduct these studies using site sediment cores and geologic material cores, along with anaerobic chambers to preserve in situ redox conditions. This allows us to evaluate biodegradation or sequestration of compounds of concern under the range of geochemical conditions, both as they exist in site sediment and in engineered horizons (e.g., sediment caps).

Here, an isotherm reactor is amended with powdered activated carbon to assess sorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in groundwater.

SiREM designs, executes, and interprets sorption studies for common compounds including the following:

  • Petroleum hydrocarbons

  • Metals

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

  • Chlorinated solvents

  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

  • Other recalcitrant compounds

Our comprehensive study reports provide the information you need to design effective pilot- and full-scale systems for sediment sites.

Contact us to learn more about sorption treatability studies.

Sorption Batch Studies and Isotherm Tests

SiREM’s professionals conduct sorption treatability studies for a wide variety of compounds of concern in small batch reactors, flow-through columns, and custom setups. Clients choose us for technically challenging studies that maintain the geochemical redox conditions of the site material. In addition to traditional sorption treatability studies, SiREM also offers extensive experience completing isotherm tests that can be used to develop site-specific sorption constants for the selected media.

These site-specific constants can also be used to estimate the length of treatment, capacity, and dosing of sorption amendments at the site. All studies are custom designed as replicated controlled experiments that provide a high level of data integrity and interpretability. SiREM’s interpretative reports summarize data and place results in the context of your project and site so that you can select and optimize a remedy for your site.

A rapid small-scale column test (RSSCT) assesses performance of granular activated carbon in removing dissolved organic carbon from a wastewater effluent stream.

A RSSCT assesses removal of PFAS using granular activated carbon, powdered activated carbon, and anion exchange resins.

Rapid Small-Scale Column Tests (RSSCTs)

SiREM’s professionals are experts in performing RSSCTs for a wide variety of compounds of concern and sorbent materials. The RSSCT helps you understand the volume of water at a specific flow rate that can be treated using sorptive media before media saturation and breakthrough of the compound of concern occur.

The RSSCT is scaled to simulate the performance of a pilot or full-scale system thereby replicating mass transfer and hydrodynamic properties, allowing for accurate estimations of full-scale sorptive media use and operating time to breakthrough. SiREM’s reports summarize data and place results in a treatment-system context you can use.

Sorption treatability studies can help you accomplish the following:

  • Evaluate multiple amendments before implementing sorption or another remedy.

  • Optimize sorptive media dosing, reactor size, and length of treatment.

  • Incrementally identify and manage risk from the lab to pilot studies to treatment.

  • Reassure stakeholders early on that sorption is a feasible remedy.

Ready to get started?

Contact us to investigate your treatability options. Together we can create custom remediation solutions for your site.