Soil Vapor Extraction

Soil vapor extraction (SVE), also known as "soil venting" or "vacuum extraction", is an in-situ remedial technology that reduces concentrations of volatile constituents in petroleum products adsorbed to soils in the unsaturated (vadose) zone. In this technology, a vacuum is applied through wells near the source of contamination in the soil. Volatile constituents of the contaminant mass "evaporate" and the vapors are drawn toward the extraction wells. Extracted vapor is then treated as necessary (commonly with carbon adsorption) before being released to the atmosphere. The increased air flow through the subsurface can also stimulate biodegradation of some of the contaminants, especially those that are less volatile. Wells may be either vertical or horizontal. In areas of high groundwater levels, water table depression pumps may be required to offset the effect of upwelling induced by the vacuum.

SVE is quicker than cleanup methods that rely on natural processes to do the work. In general, the wells and equipment are simple to install and maintain. And it can reach greater depths than methods that involve digging up soil. SVE is effective at removing many types of pollution that can evaporate. It can also be used with other methods to clean up other types of pollution as well. SVE works well under many types of conditions. SVE is often chosen to clean up Superfund sites.


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