Remediation of Matrices Contaminated by Explosives Through in Situ Chemical Oxidation

Technology #ua16-051

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Maria Sierra Alvarez
Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Jonathan Chorover
Professor, Dept Head, Soil/Water and Environmental Science
James Field
Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Managed By
Robert Sleeper
Licensing Manager (520) 626-4604

Title: Pretreatment for In Situ Chemical Oxidation


Invention: UA Researchers have tested and proposed a pretreatment to increase the effectiveness of in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) remediation of matrices contaminated by explosives and other toxic aromatic compounds with nitro substituents.  The pretreatment step involves the injection or addition of a relatively inexpensive reducing agent (lactate or ethanol) which renders the contaminant more susceptible to conventional treatments (i.e. treatment with permanganate) due to the conversion of one or more nitro substituents to an amine group.  The pretreatment step is applicable to soil and aqueous matrices.


Background:  Presently, ISCO is limited in its ability to treat explosives such as trinitrotoluene (TNT) and 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN).  Treatment with current ISCO practices is either slow, partially or completely ineffective at being able to mineralize some contaminants, especially when the contaminant in question is present at a high concentration.



•Environmental remediation of abandoned munitions production and military installations

•Remediation of pharmaceutical or plasticizer spills or contamination 



•Pretreatment step may potentially offer cost savings due to usage of low cost reducing agent and decreased usage of reagents in subsequent treatment steps

•Pretreatment step increases the rate of mineralization (treatment rate) and in some cases makes the treatment of contaminants with in-situ chemical oxidation possible.

•Pretreatment step is applicable to multiple matrices (i.e. soil, water).


Licensing Manager:

Robert Sleeper, J.D.

(520) 626-4604