Hydrocarbon Contaminants in the Subsurface
Published:January 01, 1994
In the oil and gas exploration and production industry, one learns that oil floats on water, that there is an "oil-water" contact, and that for all practical purposes in oil extraction, one is after the oil that floats on the water. Looking up the solubility of a typical hydrocarbon compound found in gasoline, such as toluene, in a CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, results in the finding that the solubility of toluene in water is "i"; that is, it is insoluble. In fact, toluene, like many "insoluble" hydrocarbons, is very slightly soluble in water, and the amount that will dissolve is much more that one would like to have in drinking water.
The solubility of several hydrocarbons was given in Table 5.4. The solubility is much greater for these compounds than the amounts permitted in water (e.g., potable water) by regulations. Because of its carcinogenic affect, benzene is often "keyed" upon at sites where gasoline, for instance, has been spilled. The permitted level of benzene in drinking water is currently ≤ 0.7 ppb in NYS, because that is the approximate detection limit.
Figures & Tables
Introduction to Environmental Hydrogeology
These notes have been written to supply supporting material for a “short course” introduction to environmental hydrogeology. The assumption is that most people who take the short course (or purchase the notes without taking the short course) will be geologists, although the information could be useful to engineers or other scientists who desire an introduction to environmental consulting in general, or hydrogeology in particular. The notes, and course, are an introduction – a partial survey - of some aspects of environmental geology, with particular reference to subsurface hydrogeology and remediation of sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. No claim of completeness is made. Regulatory programs vary from state to state. The regulatory framework used in the state of New York is sometimes given as an example. The reader should be aware that rules and procedures may differ in other states.