In the past, amine-based waste materials (i.e., reclaimer sludges and filters) generated by the natural gas sweetening process were occasionally disposed of into unlined pits. Such disposal of these waste materials often resulted in contamination of the subsurface soils.

Contaminants of concern associated with gas sweetening wastes include the amines used during the gas sweetening process (most commonly, monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, methyldiethanolamine, and diisopropanolamine), thermal/oxidative reaction products (typically, nitrogenous organic compounds), ammonia, and nonionic surfactants (i.e., nonoxynol and oleyl alcohols) typically used as antifoaming agents. Laboratory and field-based research activities conducted from 1993 to 1999 provided previously unavailable insights regarding the subsurface environmental behavior of gas sweetening wastes. The knowledge gained by those research activities has been applied toward the development of technically and economically feasible remediation strategies for contaminated soils. Based on the results of the research efforts, bioremediation methods such as engineered biopiles and land treatment cells may be the most technically and economically sound means of remediating soils contaminated with amine-based gas sweetening wastes. In 1998, a pilot-scale engineered biopile was built to evaluate the effectiveness of that technology for remediating amine sludge-contaminated soil at a decommissioned gas sweetening facility in Alberta, Canada.

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