Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds Through Air Stripping

Volatile organic compounds are commonly known as solvents. Exposure to them ranges from mild to severe and are inherent upon several factors such as amount of exposure and length of exposure. Under federal law, there is a limit on the quantity of volatile organic compounds that are emitted from different sources like industrial facilities, groundwater remediation sites and landfills.

Volatile Organic Compounds

VOC can be removed through air stripping

There are many volatile organic compounds out there but some of the most common include benzene, halogenated solvents (TCE, vinyl chloride) and siloxanes. While there are some VOCs that cause no known ill effects, the majority is known to be quire toxic. The effect on health varies upon several factors including, most notably the amount of exposure and the length of exposure. Symptoms associated with exposure to volatile organic compounds include eye, nose and throat irritation, nausea and vomiting, allergic skin reactions, skin irritation, dizziness and visual problems. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals will inevitably result in more serious health problems and conditions like cancer, damage to the kidneys and liver, central nervous system and loss of coordination.

Air Strippers

A sample of an air stripper

There are various means of removing volatile organic compounds. One of the most effective is called air stripping. This technology is found in a lot of industries and applications. Most commonly it is associated with industrial processes that include petroleum, contaminated groundwater, construction and manufacturing processes. Air stripping by CarbonAir requires the use of an air stripper machine that is deployed on site. This negates the need for having to transport the water to a containment and processing facility. Air strippers are also pre-assembled and light. The installation on site is quick and cost effective. There are multi tray configurations, blower options, controls and instrumentation. Each air stripper can be customized based on the site requirements. Flows range from less than 1 gallon per minute up to 1,000 gallons per minute.

Air Stripping Process

Air stripping technology

Air stripping calls for the use of an air stripper or aeration tank in order to force air through contaminated water for the purpose of evaporating volatile organic compounds. The most common type is the packed-column air stripper. This is essentially a tall tank that is filled with pieces of plastic steel or ceramic packing material. The contaminated water is pumped into the top of the tank and is sprayed over the top of the packing material. The water trickles downward through the spaces between the packing materials to form a thin film of water. Millions of air bubbles are forced by blower pressure through the trays thereby aerating it and thus removing the volatile organic compounds in the process. It is a simple yet revolutionary method that is capable of removing 99.9% of VOCs.