Oil contaminated sandy soil is considered to be an economical and environmental problem for the oil industry. The level of contamination is measured in Total Organic Carbon (TOC), which is a sum parameter to measure hydrocarbon compounds. TOC is considered to be the main contributor to the oil contamination in the field. The disposal process of oil contaminated sandy soil, commonly used in the current oil fields, attracts huge investment and resource.
In an effort to clean the oil contamination of the soil from the oil field, an experiment program is designed to remove oil from the sand by using ultrasonic technology. The experiments with samples from an oil field in Austria indicate a substantial decline of the TOC value, measured by an Oil-in-Water Analyzer with quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology.
Considering the physical feature of oil contaminated sand, a mechanical washing process is applied along with the ultrasonic technology in the experiment. The initial test of the experiment is to determine the real ultrasonic effect on the sample without washing effect in the treatment. The test proves that the combined process of mechanical washing and ultrasonic cleaning in two steps is an effective method to remove the oil from the sand sample.
The ultrasonic technology alone can remove 88% of oil from the oil contaminated sand. The lowest TOC is achieved by mechanical washing following by the ultrasonic cleaning, which ultimately removed 99.5% of oil from the contaminated sandy soil.
The new technology which is more safe, economical, reliable and environmental friendly will provide an alternative solution to remove oil from the sand not only to the oil industry, but for the society too.