Author Archives: Gorm Heron

About Gorm Heron

Gorm Heron, Ph.D. is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at TerraTherm, Inc. Dr. Heron has 21 years of experience in the environmental engineering field, with 14 years in design and management of in-situ thermal remediation projects. Based in TerraTherm’s Bakersfield , CA office, Dr. Heron provides technical leadership and oversight in the design and application of In Situ Thermal Remediation (ISTR) and combined In Situ Thermal Desorption(ISTD)/Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE), Electro-Thermal Dynamic Stripping Process™(ET-DSP™).

World’s Largest In Situ Thermal Desorption Project: Challenges and Solutions

TerraTherm and its In Situ Thermal Desorption (ISTD) sublicense holders have cleaned close to 50 sites, but what happens when we are presented with one that is remarkably large with more than 100,000 cubic yards (76,500 m3) of PCE and TCE rich soils to a depth of over 40 feet (12 m)? The site in particular that was presented to TerraTherm was a former aerospace manufacturing facility and had to be remediated in less than a year. Successfully completed by TerraTherm, this site in Teterboro, New Jersey is now the largest ISTD project to date. The redevelopment of this former … Continue reading

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Steam Injection Helps – How do we know when to use it?

The subsurface is complex – it may have layers of sand, silt and clay, and some layers have groundwater while others do not. When chemicals are spilled they move down into the subsurface via the paths of least resistance, contaminating all the zones they pass through. So when the distribution of materials and chemicals into the subsurface is this complex, would you think that one heating technology would fit all sites? TerraTherm’s answer is “of course not!” One has to first understand the site well, and then determine the best way to heat a site and how to best extract … Continue reading

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Thermal Treatment of Fractured Rock – How is it Different?

Fractured rock sites are different – often it is difficult even to determine how deep the Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (NAPL) has gone, and to define what we refer to as the “source area”. Some sites have NAPL in the fractures, and some have most of the mass trapped in the matrix, into which it has diffused over decades. This blog post discusses the two main challenges: How to decide on the thermal treatment volume without making the problem worse. How to design and implement an effective and safe thermal system. For any aggressive source treatment to be cost-effective, it is … Continue reading

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Eight Misconceptions about Thermal Conduction Heating (TCH) and Electrical Resistance Heating (ERH)

The Internet can be a tricky place. Sometimes when researching, it can become difficult to weed through the piles of information. Through some research of my own, I’ve come to find that there exist a few common misconceptions about thermal technologies. Many companies only practice one method of thermal heating, so it is understandable that misconceptions about another technology arise. TerraTherm on the other hand practices all three of the most accepted and mainstream methods of heating the subsurface: Thermal Conductive Heating (TCH), Electrical Resistance Heating (ERH), and Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE). This post is meant to clarify misconceptions between … Continue reading

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Vapor Extraction and Pneumatic Control in Clay

Many sites at which remediation using thermal methods is being considered contain thick clay layers in the subsurface. The difficulty with treating clay is that it is not very permeable, meaning liquids will not move through it rapidly. Chemicals often get stuck within the clay matrix and cannot be removed easily unless one heats the clay to boiling temperatures.  But how will the chemicals move out of such a tight material?  If the clay consists of tiny particles and minerals, too small for water to move more than a few meters in a year, how can we get the chemicals … Continue reading

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Where Did In Situ Thermal Remediation (ISTR) Methods Come From?

Looking at a built-up thermal site with heaters, wells, manifold piping, process gear, and the advanced monitoring systems which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, it can be tempting to wonder how this all came about…  Hundreds of engineering details, program logic controlling automatic operation of valves, heating systems, and treatment equipment.  Yet, the systems run overnight and on weekends, with nobody there to baby-sit them.   Most of the features of a modern In Situ Thermal Remediation (ISTR) site have evolved over a period of less than 25 years.  I will try to explain the evolution here. Chemicals … Continue reading

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