Fenton’s Reagent Process
Fenton’s reagent chemistry, a powerful and non-selective reaction, has the ability to oxidize a wide variety of organic contaminants into non-regulated compounds. It is the most effective and economical remediation method for sites with high contaminant concentrations.
Chemical oxidation of organic contaminants is achieved by an injection or mixing of hydrogen peroxide and a catalyst formulation into the affected media under carefully controlled conditions. Hydrogen peroxide and trace quantities of metallic salts are injected into the impacted media. This oxidation system is capable of rapid, complete, non-selective oxidation of organic compounds in soil and groundwater. The basic reaction in the process is:
Hydrogen Peroxide + Organic Contaminant ➜ Carbon Dioxide + Water
The process delivers a calculated charge of hydrogen peroxide and catalyst to the contaminated region via specialized equipment. This process maximizes the dispersion and diffusion of the reagent through the soil and/or the affected aquifer.
Hydrogen peroxide and the catalytic system results in an exothermic subsurface reaction that generates heat, pressure, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. During the reaction sequence, the organic compounds are successively converted to shorter chain mono- and di-carboxlic (fatty) acids. These compounds are non-hazardous, naturally occurring substances, and are further degraded into carbon dioxide and water by subsequent reactions.
The actual oxidation is driven by formation of a free hydroxyl radical via Fenton’s Reaction Chemistry. This specific methodology for the treatment of organic compounds in wastewater has been widely studied, utilized, and proven effective by the wastewater industry.
The preferred Fenton’s Reaction is:
Hydrogen Peroxide + Ferrous Iron ➜ Hydroxyl Radical + Hydroxyl Ion + Ferric Iron
H2O2 + Fe+2 ➜ OH. + OH- + Fe+3
The hydroxyl free radical is an extremely powerful oxidizer (second only to fluorine) against organic compounds. Residual hydrogen peroxide, due to its unstable characteristics, rapidly decomposes to water and oxygen in the subsurface environment. Soluble iron amendments added during the process are precipitated out during conversion to ferric iron.