Environmental Enlightenment #206
By Ami Adini - Reissued May 26, 2017

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never knew the meaning of.

Power of Simplicity
The EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Cleanup Technologies

Series 5: In Situ Chemical Oxidation

See our Newsletter, Environmental Enlightenment #200, for introduction to one highly valuable, plainly written series of Citizen’s Guides published by the EPA at http://www.clu-in.org/products/citguide

With this issue we introduce the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to In Situ Chemical Oxidation. You can reach it through the hyperlink under the blue header below.


In situ means being in the original position; not having been moved.

If you want to examine the Great Sphinx of Giza, I’m afraid you will have to do it in situ.

“Bonaparte Before the Sphinx” by Jean-Léon Gérôme
(The reproduction is part of a collection compiled by The Yorck Project. Compilation copyright held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.)

In situ remediation of soil is performed on location inside the soil where the contamination resides, contrary to cases where the contaminated soil is excavated and cleaned elsewhere.

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Porter , K. S. and M. W. Stimmann. 1988. Protecting Groundwater: A Guide for the Pesticide User. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Similarly, In situ remediation of groundwater is performed on location inside the aquifer where the contamination resides, contrary to cases where the contaminated water is pumped out and treated above ground.

Oxidation happens when a substance combines with oxygen.

It can flare up in the bonfire

Photograph by Janne Karaste, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Or it may develop slowly as rust

Photograph by Tony Fischer, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Oxygen makes about 20% of our atmospheric air, so there’s plenty of it around to combine with substances.

Certain substances have more affinity (attraction, liking) to oxygen than others.

Carbon and hydrogen, each on its own, have strong affinity to oxygen. They just can’t wait to mate.

And thus we get H2O (water) and CO2 (carbon dioxide).


Illustration by Jecowa, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic License

A chemical is a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared, esp. artificially.

Thus, chemical oxidation is an oxidation caused by or between chemicals as contrasted with natural oxidation such as rust or the all-too-common combustion of fuels.


We combine all of the above and find that In Situ Chemical Oxidation is oxidation caused by chemicals that make contact with contamination in the place where the contamination resides.

For example, if you take hydrogen peroxide and inject it into soil laden with petroleum, it will break up the petroleum on contact. (Caution, do not do this on your own without proper training in the inherent, serious hazards!)

Go to the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to In Situ Chemical Oxidation at http://www.clu-in.org/download/Citizens/a_citizens_guide_to_in_situ_chemical_oxidation.pdf for the rest.

You can find past issues of "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.amiadini.com with wealth of information about issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini Environmental Services, Inc.
Environmental Engineering Consultants & Contractors
Underground Storage Tank Experts
California Lic. #1009513 A B HAZ ASB
818-824-8102; mail@amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. (AAES), an environmental engineering consulting firm and general contractors specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and upgrading of underground storage tank facilities. AAES provides practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.