Evaluating ozone as a remedial treatment for removing RDX from unsaturated soils

Michael Adam, Steve Comfort, Daniel Snow, David Cassada, Matthew Morley, Wilson Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Years of wastewater discharge at the Department of Energy's Pantex Plant have contaminated the vadose zone and underlying perched aquifer with hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX). Because the vadose zone is acting as a continual source of groundwater contamination, removing RDX from the unsaturated zone is paramount to prevent further contamination. We determined the efficacy of ozone to degrade and mineralize RDX. Solution experiments showed that ozone (27 mgL-1; 150 mL min-1) was effective in mineralizing 80% of the RDX (30 mg RDX L-1) provided that some Pantex soil was present to buffer the solution pH. Soil columns treated with ozone produced 50% RDX mineralization within 1 day and >80% within 7 day. Experiments designed to evaluate aerobic biodegradation following partial ozonation of a RDX solution showed that ozone-generated RDX products were much more biodegradable than untreated controls in aerobic microcosms (35 versus <0.3% cumulative mineralization). These results support the use of ozone as a remedial treatment for the contaminated vadose zone at the Pantex facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1588
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Chemical treatment
  • Contamination
  • Explosives
  • Ground-water pollution
  • Oxidation
  • Remedial action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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