Assessing performance and closure for soil vapor extraction: Integrating vapor discharge and impact to groundwater quality

Kenneth C. Carroll, Mart Oostrom, Michael J. Truex, Virginia J. Rohay, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Soil vapor extraction (SVE) is typically effective for removal of volatile contaminants from higher-permeability portions of the vadose zone. However, contamination in lower-permeability zones can persist due to mass transfer processes that limit the removal effectiveness. After SVE has been operated for a period of time and the remaining contamination is primarily located in lower-permeability zones, the remedy performance needs to be evaluated to determine whether the SVE system should be optimized, terminated, or transitioned to another technology to replace or augment SVE. Numerical modeling of vapor-phase contaminant transport was used to investigate the correlation between measured vapor-phase mass discharge, MF r, from a persistent, vadose-zone contaminant source and the resulting groundwater contaminant concentrations. This relationship was shown to be linear, and was used to directly assess SVE remediation progress over time and to determine the level of remediation in the vadose zone necessary to protect groundwater. Although site properties and source characteristics must be specified to establish a unique relation between MF r and the groundwater contaminant concentration, this correlation provides insight into SVE performance and support for decisions to optimize or terminate the SVE operation or to transition to another type of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Concentration rebound
  • Mass flux
  • NAPL
  • Remediation
  • SVE
  • Soil vapor extraction
  • VOC
  • Vadose zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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