Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Chemosphere 89:6 (October 2012), pp. 656–664; doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.06.004


Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The development of slow-release chemical oxidants for sub-surface remediation is a relatively new technol­ogy. Our objective was to develop slow-release persulfate-paraffin candles to treat BTEX-contaminated ground­water. Laboratory-scale candles were prepared by heating and mixing Na2S2O8 with paraffin in a 2.25 to 1 ra­tio (w/w), and then pouring the heated mixture into circular molds that were 2.38 cm long and either 0.71 or 1.27 cm in diameter. Activator candles were prepared with FeSO4 or zero-valent iron (ZVI) and wax. By treat­ing benzoic acid and BTEX compounds with slow-release persulfate and ZVI candles, we observed rapid trans­formation of all contaminants. By using 14C-labeled benzoic acid and benzene, we also confirmed mineraliza­tion (conversion to CO2) upon exposure to the candles. As the candles aged and were repeatedly exposed to fresh solutions, contaminant transformation rates slowed and removal rates became more linear (zero-order); this change in transformation kinetics mimicked the observed dissolution rates of the candles. By stacking per­sulfate and ZVI candles on top of each other in a saturated sand tank (14 × 14 × 2.5 cm) and spatially sampling around the candles with time, the dissolution patterns of the candles and zone of influence were determined. Results showed that as the candles dissolved and persulfate and iron diffused out into the sand matrix, ben­zoic acid or benzene concentrations (Co = 1 mM) decreased by >90% within 7 d. These results support the use of slow-release persulfate and ZVI candles as a means of treating BTEX compounds in contaminated groundwater.

Includes Supplementary Materials.