work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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petroleum-recovery innovation

petroleum-recovery innovation
client
Flint Hills Resources
location
Minnesota

petroleum-wicking innovation yields 200-percent improvement in product removal

To address historic petroleum contamination at its fuel-distribution terminal near the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Flint Hill Resources (FHR) hired Barr for a remedial design to clean up the site. To remove free-phase petroleum from the former fuel-distribution area, we designed and installed a system of soil-vapor extraction and recovery wells. The system was successful but, like most petroleum-removal efforts, it left a thin layer of non-dissolved petroleum on top of the groundwater table.

Barr designed a vacuum-enhanced, hydrophobic-vapor-wicking process known as the Power Wick®. A hydrocarbon-absorbing material is lowered inside a one-inch drop pipe, which is then connected to a high-velocity-vacuum system. As the product saturates the absorbent wick, the vacuum removes the petroleum as vapor. The Power Wick® provided a 200-percent improvement in product removal, ultimately recovering nearly 3,000 gallons of petroleum that the traditional system couldn’t remove. The project won a Grand Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies and was named one of the Seven Wonders of Engineering by the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers.