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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited
Hydrocarbon leakages from underground oil-storage tanks or from beneath surface tanks can migrate into the groundwater. If left undetected an oil build-up can result in severe contamination. Continuous monitoring of the smallest leaks can provide an early warning and thus prevent the need for costly remediation measures.
The new Leakwise Groundwater monitor from Ionics can be installed in groundwater monitoring wells (10cm diameter wells, or larger) to continuously detect any leaks from pipelines or storage tanks containing oil or other petrochemicals. It can also be installed interstitially within double-walled storage tanks (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 Ionics Groundwater oil-on-water
The Leakwise uses a proven electro-magnetic absorption technique which is claimed to be far more sensitive than level monitoring, as it can detect floating oil layers as small as 0.3mm thick. A floating detector maintains a precise position at the liquid/air interface irrespective of the watertable levels in the well. Any migration of oil into the groundwater from a leaking tank will result in a floating sheen and a change in the absorption characteristics at the surface of the water.
With this technique the detector continues to work even when contaminated by the oil. It not only can detect oil contamination, but also measure the thickness present, track the build-up of oil, and be programmed to ignore traces and provide alarms only when pre-set levels have been reached.
Leakwise Groundwater oil-on-water detectors can also be employed in the evaluation and remediation of contaminated sites. Installation within peripheral wells can provide data on contaminant migration patterns and the efficiency of remediation measures.
Within sites that have pump-and-treat remediation, the detectors can be used for more precise control of remediation pumps and thus help reduce the costly treatment of water. Prompt reaction to any oil build-up and the automatic selection of only those wells with thicker sheens, can reduce dramatically the water volumes required to be treated. The detectors can also be used for the control of oil interceptors, skimmers and separators.
Full details are available from Ionics UK Ltd, 3 Mercury Park, Mercury Way, Trafford Park, Manchester M41 7LY. Tel: +44 (0)161 866 9337.