Developing slow-release persulfate candles to treat BTEX contaminated groundwater

Ann Kambhu, Steve Comfort, Chanat Chokejaroenrat, Chainarong Sakulthaew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


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 2.38cm long and either 0.71 or 1.27cm in diameter. Activator candles were prepared with FeSO4 or zerovalent 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 (14×14×2.5cm) 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=1mM) decreased by >90% within 7d. These results support the use of slow-release persulfate and ZVI candles as a means of treating BTEX compounds in contaminated groundwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-664
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzene
  • Ethyl benzene
  • Persulfate
  • Toluene
  • Xylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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