Ecovac Services / Projects / Diesel Fuel /

South Bend, Indiana


South Bend, Indiana (Railroad site)


Separate-phase hydrocarbons (SPH) present in 7 monitor/recovery wells ranging in thicknesses from 0.02 to 1.17 feet


Fine to medium sand with some fine to coarse gravel


SURFAC® Pilot Testing was conducted to collect data to implement EcoVac Services’ patented SURFAC® process.  SURFAC® is proposed due to its proven cost effective results, the site’s limited access, and failure of fixed system remediation activities to remove SPH.  EcoVac’s treatability study predicts that SURFAC® will remove 96% of diesel fuel at this site. Diesel fuel recovery during the pilot test exceeded the annual recovery from the site’s remediation system.



A subsurface investigation of this site was prompted by a sheen on the St. Joseph River observed and reported by the Notre Dame rowing team. A remediation system consisting of two recovery wells containing skimmer pumps was installed and operated for a number of years at an approximate annual O&M cost of $100,000/year.

EcoVac Services was retained to remove SPH from the site after the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) required a more aggressive cleanup approach. 


The site consists of fine to coarse sand with some fine to coarse gravel.  The aquifer is present at ~7 to 20 feet bgs over most of the site; however, groundwater is present at approximately 45 feet bgs beneath a very steep railroad embankment. The treatment area is largely inaccessible due to railroad lines, 25-foot high embankment, and dense vegetation

Treatment Methodology

EcoVac Services was contracted to implement patented SURFAC® process (the combination of dual-phase/multi-phase extraction and surfactant injection) at this site due to the challenging conditions (i.e. geology/hydrogeology conditions, extent of SPH plume, ongoing presence of SPH despite previous and current remedial activities, limited site access, and exceptionally steep topography).

SURFAC® Pilot Test Results and Conclusions

A three-day SURFAC® Pilot Test was conducted at the site to (1) determine the surfactant injection volumes and sequencing, (2) achieve contaminant removal by the multi-phase/dual-phase extraction process, (3) reduce the aerial and vertical extent of the plumes, (4) assess the potential need for additional injection wells, (5) determine if additional mobile dual-phase/multi-phase extraction (EFR®) events are necessary prior to surfactant injection, and (6) determine the duration of the surfactant injection.

A greater volume of SPH was removed during the three-day SURFAC® pilot test than what the fixed remediation system was recovering annually.

EcoVac Services also conducted a treatability and SURFAC® simulation study using site media. The treatability study indicated that SURFAC® will remove 96% of diesel fuel at this site.

Additional EFR® (mobile dual-phase/multi-phase extraction) events are proposed for the site until SPH thicknesses are reduced to approximately <0.5 feet/well.  SURFAC® will be implemented at this site once SPH thicknesses have decreased and the SPH plume has been further delineated.


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