Controlling odors from creosote utilizing foam-based technology

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Courtesy of Rusmar Inc.

From approximately 1910 until the mid-1950s, a creosote plant operated on a 50 acre site in Manville, New Jersey. During its operation, the wood treatment facility treated railroad ties with creosote and discharged the excess creosote via canals to two waste lagoons located on the site.

After treatment, wood was stored in areas of the site where excess creosote dripped onto surface soils and eventually leaked into the subsurface soils.

The site was formally placed on the National Priorities List in 1999 after a site investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Response Team indicated the contamination was extensive, uncontrolled, and had impacted sedi- ment, soil and groundwater in the area.

Site issues
A Record of Decision determined that excavation and off-site treatment and/or disposal of the soils would meet the remediation goals. Contaminants of concern included PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), benzene and naphthalene. To protect neighboring residents and the contractors awarded the remediation work from harmful emissions and nuisance odors, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commissioned an odor control study. The study was to determine the most effective ground treatment product to be used during remediation.

The most prevalent compound detected was naphthalene, which accounted for 70% - 90% of the total weight of the detected compounds. The American Industrial Hygiene Association's published odor threshold for naphthalene is 0.038 ppm. Given the low odor threshold and its relatively large presence at the site, controlling naphthalene odors during excavation was of utmost concern to the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The odor control study used a number of qualitative evaluations, as well as quantitative testing using low volume/flux chamber PFU media sampling with TO 13 analysis, and canister/flux chamber sampling with TO 14 analysis.

The odor control study examined three types of ground treatment technologies and their effectiveness in con- trolling naphthalene, 2-methylnaphtha-Iene, and acenaphthene. These were Rusmar Long Duration Foam, a cellulose fiber/binder, and a latex polymer product.

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