Pilot-Scale Demonstration of Cyclodextrin as a Solubility-Enhancement Agent for Remediation of a Tetrachloroethene-Contaminated Aquifer

Geoffrey R. Tick, Fara Lourenso, A. Lynn Wood, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The limitations associated with conventional pump and treat technology have generated interest in using enhanced in-situ flushing as an alternative for remediating source zones contaminated with immiscible liquid. This research investigates the effectiveness of cyclodextrin as a solubility-enhancement agent to enhance the removal of tetrachloroethene (PCE) from a physically isolated section of an aquifer. An important component of this project was the implementation of reagent recovery and reuse. This field experiment presented the rare opportunity, under strict regulatory guidance, to inject PCE into the surficial aquifer cell created with two sets of sheet piles driven into an underlying clay unit. The well-controlled conditions specific to this experiment allowed quantification of mass balances, which is problematic for many contaminated field sites. The fact that mass balances can be obtained provides the ability to determine remediation effectiveness with unusual accuracy for a field project. The saturated zone within the test cell was flushed with a 15 wt % cyclodextrin solution. The cyclodextrin solution increased the aqueous concentration of PCE in the extraction-well effluent to as much as 22 times the concentrations obtained during the water flush conducted prior to the complexing sugar flush (CSF). The seven pore-volume CSF removed the equivalent of approximately 33 L of PCE from the subsurface. This equates to 48% of the total initial mass, based on the volume of PCE present prior to the CSF (68.6 L). Conversely, the seven pore-volume water flush conducted prior to the CSF removed the equivalent of 2.7 L of PCE. The use of cyclodextrin as a flushing agent, especially in a recycling configuration, appears to hold promise for successful remediation of chlorinated-solvent-contaminated source zones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5829-5834
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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