Coast Geological Society

Ventura, California

Next Meeting -Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dr. Scott C. Hauswirth, Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge, will present his talk titled: 

Physiochemical Approaches for the Remediation of Manufactured Gas Plant Tar in Porous Media

Talk Abstract 

Tars produced as a by-product of coal and oil gasification at former manufactured gas plants (FMGPs) during the 19th and early 20th centuries were often released into the environment through poor disposal practices or leaks in holding tanks and piping.  These tars are persistent contaminants, leaching polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into groundwater and posing a significant risk to human and ecological health.  FMGP tars also have several properties that make them notoriously difficult to remediate. They are dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), so they can migrate to depths which make removal by excavation difficult or impossible, and their relatively high viscosities and ability to alter the wetting characteristics of porous media result in inefficient removal by traditional pump-and-treat methods.  This presentation investigates the relationship between tar composition and properties, and explores several remediation approaches.

Scott C. Hauswirth, Ph.D.
Speaker Biography

Scott Hauswirth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University, Northridge.  After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science from Wesleyan University, he worked for a number of years in the environmental consulting industry conducting investigations and overseeing clean-up activities at contaminated sites, including manufactured gas plants (MGPs), oil and gasoline leaks, and Superfund sites. He returned to academia and obtained his PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.  He continued conducting research and teaching at UNC as a postdoctoral research associate for two years, before joining the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2016. His research has focused on improving understanding of complex non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminants, developing and testing methods for contaminant remediation, and investigating the behavior of non-Newtonian fluids in porous materials.