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What is BTEX?


Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene

Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene (BTEX) are the volatile components commonly associated with petroleum products. Most petroleum contaminated sites are located within modified environments, and the primary requirements for ecological protection relate to the protection of off-site environment quality and to the associated ecosystems.

Organic compounds can be a major pollution problem in groundwater. Their presence in water can create a hazard to public health and the environment. One of the most common sources for BTEX-contamination of soil and groundwater are spills involving the release of petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and lubricating and heating oil from leaking oil tanks. Because of their polarity and very soluble characteristics, the organic chemicals (BTEX's) of petroleum products will be able to enter the soil and groundwater systems and cause serious pollution problems.

The BTEX group of contaminants consists of benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene, and three isomers of xylene. These organic chemicals make up a significant percentage of petroleum products. The reason why the BTEX's, entering our soil and groundwater system, are considered such a serious problem is that they all have some acute and long term toxic effects. In addition to the toxicity's benzene is known to be a carcinogen.

Contamination of groundwater with the BTEX compounds is difficult to remedy because these compounds are relatively soluble in water and can diffuse rapidly once introduced into an aquifer. Techniques for in situ remediation of the BTEX compounds are used to eliminate or reduce contamination levels in an aquifer.

Organoclay and Carbon Treatment

This treatment is used after groundwater has been pumped out of the aquifer. The contaminated water is passed through the organoclay and carbon unit where the organics are adsorbed and collected. This is accomplished through the adsorption of the chemical substance onto a carbon matrix. The effectiveness of this processes is related to the quality of the organoclay and the properties of the contaminants. This process can be extremely effective when using a high quality organoclay such as Aqua Technologies ET-1 Activated Clay.

Because of the health concerns surrounding soil and groundwater contamination from petroleum products, there is a high interest in researching this area. The continual release of petroleum products into the subsurface environment, requires the need for monitoring and remediation techniques. Even though there has been a lot of research going on within this area the problem of how to set up actual remediation processes is still very complex.


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