Passive groundwater remediation technologies are increasingly considered because they require very little long-term maintenance and are thus more cost effective than active systems such as pump-and-treat, which require the continuous upkeep of a groundwater pumping system and of an above-ground water treatment plant. Barriers are being installed in the ground to either prevent the flow of contaminated water from one property to another, or to remove the contaminants from the water as it passes through a porous reactive barrier. Absorbents which irreversibly incorporate spilled solvents into their structure have been developed to clean surface spills. This project was aimed at evaluating the performance of the absorbents with dissolved organic contaminants. It was found that while they did sorb aqueous phase compounds, it was through adsorption, not absorption and that it was therefore reversible. As adsorbents, the polymers marketed as Imbiber Beads® and Expandabeads® were not as effective as activated carbon.

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