Soil and groundwater cleanup on a industrialized food plant

Waste Management

A multinational dairy company faced an emergency situation, due to evidence of the presence of hydrocarbons in the perimeter of one of its plants located in the city of Cajamarca, Peru.

The company discovered hydrocarbons in the groundwater of a food plant in Peru. This was a mysterious problem, because the hydrocarbons had not been there previously. Where were they coming from? The dairy plant itself, perhaps, or from some outside source?

 

But finding the source of the hydrocarbons was only one aspect of the challenge. They also needed to somehow clean up the contaminated groundwater to high environmental standards in order to protect the local environment and community, as well as their own reputation.

 

To make matters even more complicated, the company couldn’t stop production during cleanup. They needed to continue operations with minimal disruption during the entire project. When the company realised the magnitude of the challenge they hand-picked Lamor to find a solution.

Lamor began making a clearance borehole review, drilling small exploratory holes to determine the extent that oil was affecting the water table. They discovered some serious contaminants in the groundwater such as mercury, lead and petroleum hydrocarbons. Surface electrical resistivity tomography ‎was used on site to find anomalies in the soil. These techniques enabled the Lamor experts to see how much oil was in the groundwater, the progress of the pollution plume in the aquifer and how groundwater moved in the area. They now had solid data to plan a cleanup, remediation and field operation.

 

Simultaneously, Lamor searched for the source of the oil, both on the grounds of the food plant and in the surrounding area, analysing the groundwater flow vectors, and other hydrogeological parameters. Soon suspicion fell on fuel storage tanks for boilers, and tests revealed that they were the source of the contamination.

 

The groundwater and soil remediation stage of the project included the drilling of several remediation wells placed in strategic locations identified after a geospatial 3D assessment and consideration of different hydrologic criteria. Pumping and extraction were carried out over twelve months. New alternative fuels were chosen for the boilers, which eliminated the old hydrocarbon-based fuels. After the old fuel storage tanks were removed, four more remediation and monitoring wells were drilled to help speed up the operation.

After about two and a half years of remediation efforts, the groundwater was once again clean. The levels of pollutants measured in the groundwater met the strict limits set by Peruvian authorities.

 

The company was able to satisfy their responsibility to the environment as well as to their employees, customers, shareholders, regulators and local communities. The leak was found, the contamination was cleaned and another occurrence was prevented – all without harming the company’s reputation or even disrupting their business operations.

 

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PROJECT KEY NUMBERS

14 Monitoring and extraction wells were dug

1,414 m2 of area and 5,000 m3 of material were cleaned.

62% reduction in contamination plume was achieved within 6 months.

99% Decrease in hydrocarbons in the free phase

100% reduction in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

Full compliance with local legislation and company standards

Tailor-made solutions allowed the continuity of the plant's operations

Diego_Circle_200-1

Lamor Peru Country Manager

Diego Echeverri

“We studied the problem; understood the requirements of the company, regulators and society; and then built a bespoke solution to fit the customer’s budget and deadline. Lamor can do the same things for other industries like mining, ports, terminals, oil and gas or manufacturing. We can discreetly help any industry which might have had hazardous materials released into the water or soil.”

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