Air Stripping

Mar 26, 2019

Environmental Enlightenment #307

When you strip something from something else, you remove it. In the image below, the worker is stripping bark off the tree.

(New Brunswick, Stripping or Barking a Tree for Torches, Canada, Nineteenth Century Engraving. Contributor: Artokoloro Quint Lox Limited / Alamy Stock Photo)

Take water and mix an alcoholic drink into it. Alcohol dissolves in water like sugar.

Take a straw and blow air through the solution. If you blow it long enough (it won’t take long) you’ll end up with straight water. The alcohol is gone.

The air that you bubbled through the water, stripped the alcohol away from the water. The alcohol vaporized into the air bubbles and was carried up and away into the atmosphere.

Where groundwater is contaminated with soluble, volatile organic substances (like benzene, PCE and others), one way of remediation is by air stripping. We use air to strip the volatile compounds away from the water.

Note that groundwater is not water alone, not a pool, not a lake, not a river. It is a mix of water and rock, like the mud in a hole in the beach sand.

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