Using slow-release permanganate candles to remove TCE from a low permeable aquifer at a former landfill

Mark D. Christenson, Ann Kambhu, Steve D. Comfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Past disposal of industrial solvents into unregulated landfills is a significant source of groundwater contamination. In 2009, we began investigating a former unregulated landfill with known trichloroethene (TCE) contamination. Our objective was to pinpoint the location of the plume and treat the TCE using in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO). We accomplished this by using electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) to survey the landfill and map the subsurface lithology. We then used the ERI survey maps to guide direct push groundwater sampling. A TCE plume (100-600μgL-1) was identified in a low permeable silty-clay aquifer (Kh=0.5md-1) that was within 6m of ground surface. To treat the TCE, we manufactured slow-release potassium permanganate candles (SRPCs) that were 91.4cm long and either 5.1cm or 7.6cm in dia. For comparison, we inserted equal masses of SRPCs (7.6-cm versus 5.1-cm dia) into the low permeable aquifer in staggered rows that intersected the TCE plume. The 5.1-cm dia candles were inserted using direct push rods while the 7.6-cm SRPCs were placed in 10 permanent wells. Pneumatic circulators that emitted small air bubbles were placed below the 7.6-cm SRPCs in the second year. Results 15months after installation showed significant TCE reductions in the 7.6-cm candle treatment zone (67-85%) and between 10% and 66% decrease in wells impacted by the direct push candles. These results support using slow-release permanganate candles as a means of treating chlorinated solvents in low permeable aquifers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-687
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorinated solvents
  • Permanganate
  • Slow-release oxidants
  • TCE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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