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What is soil vapour extraction?

Soil vapour extraction (SVE) is an in-situ technology used in contaminated land remediation and is particularly useful for removing volatile organic compounds (VOC) from permeable soils. A negative pressure is applied to the ground which results in the enhanced volatilisation of lower molecular weight organic contaminants and their removal from the ground. An air flow is created by a vacuum pump through a network of wells.

Once the vapour phase contamination has been removed from the ground it is captured for disposal or treated on site. Generally, we use activated carbon adsorption to capture the vapour, although on occasion we use catalytic oxidation or biological treatment depending on contaminant concentrations and duration of the project. The main components of typical SVE system are:

  • Vapour extraction wells
  • Vacuum blower
  • Moisture removal knockout vessel
  • Off-gas collection and piping and associated equipment
  • Off-gas treatment system

Important parameters for preliminary design of an SVE system are the extracted VOC concentration, air flow rate, radius of influence of venting wells, number of wells required, depth and locations of the wells and the size of the vacuum pump. At Telluric Land Remediation we design and build our own equipment from small units suitable for single domestic dwellings to large scale industrial sites.

telluric bullet Contaminants treated by soil vapour extraction

Typical volatile contaminants that can be removed from the ground with an SVE system include:

  • Petrol
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • Trichloroethene
  • Perchloroethene
  • Other volatile solvents

telluric bullet Soil vapour extraction case studies

  1. Contaminated Soil Remediation on a Development Site
  2. Contaminated Land Remediation by Dual Phase Extraction
  3. Remediation of a Large Development Site
  4. Remediation of a Former Petrol Station


If you need any advice, Telluric will be happy to help you

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