Category Archives: Data Management

To Wipe or Not to Wipe: Ensuring Equipment Cleanliness after Decontamination

At TerraTherm, our wellfield and process equipment can take a beating! Between high concentrations of hazardous chemicals, corrosive conditions, and elevated temperatures, piping and equipment generally need a bit of TLC before being put back into circulation for use at another site. When TerraTherm is operating at sites with persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or dioxin/furans, decontamination becomes even more difficult and even more important.  Along with typical decontamination procedures such as steam cleaning and pressure washing, washing with a non-ionizing  detergent (e.g. Simple Green) is typically necessary. Additional rinsing of equipment with specialized products such as … Continue reading

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How TerraTherm’s ThinkThermal Website and Data Plotter Connect Clients with Real Time Data

Thermal projects are quick – we often heat and treat a site in less than 6 months.  It is crucial to be on top of all the data and know when it is time to stop, or when to collect confirmatory samples to document performance.  Every day and week counts, so the project team must have immediate access to the data from the field. As an engineer and data manager for TerraTherm, I have found that two of the most useful tools that I have to help keep our project teams and clients up to date are the ThinkThermal.com website … Continue reading

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Speeding down the Data Highway

Interpreting analytical data collected from our process streams during operations is sort of like driving a car forward, but only being able to look at the rearview mirror. During operations at our thermal remediation sites, TerraTherm routinely collects a variety of process vapor (whole air canisters/bottle-vacs, and/or solid adsorbent tubes) and liquid samples.  The exact sampling and analytical methods used vary from site to site; each site is truly unique with different combinations of subsurface contaminants, site geology/groundwater chemistries, heating approach, as well as site specific cleanup goals and permitted discharge limits. These process analytical data are used to: Evaluate … Continue reading

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Bench Scale Thermal Treatment of 1,4-Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane (not to be confused with dioxin…although we also can certainly thermally treat that! See our updates from the Danang Vietnam project) is an industrial chemical widely used as a chemical stabilizer for chlorinated solvents. It is of environmental concern due to its classification as a probable human carcinogen coupled with its unique chemical properties such as high water solubility (and therefore high subsurface mobility in groundwater), low octanol-water partition coefficient (log Kow), and relative resistance to biodegradation [1]. Due to these properties, 1,4-dioxane is often present on the leading edge of a contaminant plume in groundwater and presents unique … Continue reading

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Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) Monitoring for Estimating Mass Removed

Since 2000, TerraTherm has removed over three million pounds of organic contaminants from the sites we have treated. Many of these sites had yielded too much mass to economically use granular activated carbon as the vapor treatment method. Therefore, we often use thermal oxidizers, using gas and the fuel value of the contaminants to treat the vapors at temperatures of 1500°F (816°C) or higher. The National Fire Protection Agency has mandated continuous monitoring of vapors entering oxidizers when those vapors are expected to be over the 25% Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). Additionally, thermal oxidizers generally have a safe upper operable … Continue reading

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The Road to a Successful Remediation is Paved with Data

Accurate data routinely collected can be the difference between a successfully completed thermal remediation project, and one with extended operations, costing the client money. TerraTherm designs and executes a reliable data collection process during In Situ Thermal Remediation (ISTR) projects that specifically targets key operational data, therefore enhancing system performance, reducing energy consumption, and documenting when project goals are met. Depending on the complexity of a site and the specific remedial objectives, any number of data analyses can be performed, but the quantity and quality of data are paramount. The data are used to create detailed mass and energy balances … Continue reading

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Monitoring Extracted and Treated Vapor Streams from a Thermal Remediation Site in Real-Time

Monitoring is an important component to any successful remediation project.  This point is explained further in Steffen Griepke’s previous blog post, “Why Data Management is the Most Underrated Aspect of Thermal Remediation Operations”. The more information you can collect, the better! Conventional portable monitoring instruments, such as a photoionization detector (PID) or flame ionization detector (FID) are relatively inexpensive and convenient, but are unable to detect certain constituents or quantify their presence, especially in hot, moist vapor streams.  This blog post provides an example of a technique TerraTherm is using for selected sites to overcome these limitations. TerraTherm’s FTIR system … Continue reading

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Why Data Management is the Most Underrated Aspect of Thermal Remediation Operations

There are those who think data management sounds boring.  What could be less stimulating than numbers in columns and rows?  But to anyone who needs to know exactly what is going on in the soil, these data are about the most interesting and exciting news around.  No, I’m not saying that us soil nerds are easily amused, I’m saying that those process numbers and field data reveal trends that tell a detailed story and provide actionable information that may streamline the path to completion.  When it comes to optimizing a thermal remediation project, data management, along with a lot of … Continue reading

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TerraTherm’s Temperature Monitoring System Keeps Clients Well-Informed

TerraTherm has developed an advanced temperature monitoring system that has the ability to let our engineers and our clients know the exact status of their thermal treatment project(s) at all times.  It provides a real-time view of temperature performance throughout the target treatment zone (TTZ), while it measures and stores soil temperature data for the life of the project.  The system provides a great way to increase understanding and share knowledge of the entire cleanup process, while keeping everyone tuned into the same well-informed data.  It is also key to helping us make the fine adjustments that are sometimes required … Continue reading

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