CAT 100 Chemical Soup

I like soup. I think the best soup is composed of leftovers. When it is time to clean out the refrigerator, I put a pot of water on the stove and chuck stuff in. Yet, anytime you have a broad mix of ingredients, the soup can become an unredeemable culinary chaos, and you may be choking down a soup that’s just not right.

However, with a few simple tips, you can make a good soup or even a great soup!

  • Brown everything on the stovetop before adding it to the pot, make the most of that fantastic Maillard reaction.
  • Cook onions before you add them to your soup.
  • Include acid ingredients like tomatoes or a spritz of lime during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  • Be mindful of under- or over-salting but be generous with cracked pepper and aromatics.

I bet you never expected to get cooking advice in an RPI Newsletter!

Soup is easy enough unless we’re talking about a chemical soup in the subsurface. You learn that some contaminants need an electron donor, like TCE, while others, like hydrocarbons, need an electron acceptor. Some COCs successfully, preferentially degrade anaerobically, and others aerobically. Some COCs will efficiently degrade biologically, while an abiotic route best tackles others. Obviously, geochemistry dictates some of this as well.

But what do you do when the chemical soup you must remediate contains constituents having contrary degradation mechanisms?

You could employ remedies in a sequence. Knock off one chemical of concern (COC), wait for the aquifer to stabilize post-remedy, then apply a subsequent treatment(s). This approach, while viable, is slow and will have high mobilization expenses, and depending on the selected chemistries, could “boil over” due to product costs.

What if there was a more efficient, faster approach? RPI has that solved. CAT 100 can simultaneously address multiple COCs, having seemingly contrary degradation requirements.

As a demonstration, in the graph below, a site in the northeastern United States had a contaminant soup that was chemical chaos – twenty-six (26) RCRA Hazardous Wastes. Broadly categorized, the compounds were chlorinated alkanes and alkenes, such as carbon tetrachloride and tetrachloroethene, and BTEX petroleum aromatics, alcohols, methanol and ethanol, and ethers, such as tetrahydrofuran. Naturally, some of these chemicals have contrary optimal degradation parameters that would be impossible for most remediation chemistries without using a series of reactants and reagents.

As shown in Figure 1., after a single injection of CAT 100 300 ppm of benzene was 96% degraded. The other 25 COCs are non-detect at 901 days.

CAT 100 is the critical ingredient for your chemical soup.

Figure 1. Day zero marks the concentrations before a single CAT 100 emplacement. To make the graph legible, a select subset of chemicals across a 100,000-fold range are presented. The day 901 samples are non-detect at levels appropriate to regulatory compliance and risk assessment.

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