SEGH Articles

Ozone as a remediation technique for the treatment of hydrocarbons in post industrial sites in Glasgow

01 November 2011
Andrew Robson was a runner up for the Springer / Hemphill Best student Oral presentation at SEGH 2011.


This project was aimed at proving the viability for the use of ozone as a remediation technology for a contaminated site located on the West Coast of Scotland.  While there are plenty of documented laboratory based studies on the use of ozone for the treatment of contaminated land, there are few real world examples documented from the UK and even less looking at the particular environmental factors encountered on the West Coast of Scotland. 

The site used for this study was a coastal site, the soil predominately clay based although towards the coastal edge it is infilled. Previously the site was used as an oil refinery but has now been identified for redevelopment for housing, offices and parkland. Previous usage has left the site heavily contaminated with a range of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), Alkenes and heavy metals, all of which have the potential to cause serious health issues if left untreated when the site is redeveloped, some of the contaminants have been linked to developmental issues in children, as well as a range of potential carcinogenic compounds. 

The study treated samples from the site with Ozone over a range of times and then measured the concentration of selected marker Polyaromatic hydrocarbons to identify the impact of the ozone on these to confirm that the Ozone had the ability to breakdown the PAH's.  Over time it was shown that all of these compounds showed a reduction in concentration with ozone treatment, although the degree of degradation varied between the different marker compounds.

The Ozone had no direct impact on the levels of the heavy metals, but has the potential to oxidise to less toxic oxidation states. An unexpected finding identified by the study was the impact the ozone had on the physical nature of the predominantly clay based soil. The ozone has had the affect of driving the water content from the clay as well as reducing the hydrocarbon content and in the samples a 12% reduction of soil volume was seen in a 6 hour application.  The engineering implications of this for the redevelopment of a treated clay site being the need for additional top soil as well as a re-evaluation of the geophysical properties of the treated material.

Andrew Robson is a MRes student studying at the David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability, at the University of Strathclyde, and is sponsored by Parsons Brinckerhoff under a industry sponsorship scheme .


The Study is a joint project with industry involving two partners, Parsons Brinckerhoff,  who as well as sponsoring the Masters course also offer industrial knowledge and advice to the project and ERS Land Regeneration who have allowed access to the  site and to their laboratory facilities and have helped out with some of the more practical challenges.

Andrew Robson1, Christine Switzer1, Jamie Robinson2 , Thomas Asprey3 ,Helen Keenan1

1DLCS, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Strathclyde

2Parsons Brinckerhoff, Queen Victoria House, Bristol BS6 6US

3 ERS Land Regeneration  Westerhill Road , Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. G64 2QH   


Keep up to date

Submit Content

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Improving arsenopyrite oxidation rate laws: implications for arsenic mobilization during aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) 2018-04-25


    Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and aquifer recharge (AR) provide technical solutions to address water supply deficits and growing future water demands. Unfortunately, the mobilization of naturally present arsenic due to ASR/AR operations has undermined its application on a larger scale. Predicting arsenic mobility in the subsurface during ASR/AR is further complicated by site-specific factors, including the arsenic mobilization mechanisms, groundwater flow conditions, and multi-phase geochemical interactions. In order to ensure safe and sustainable ASR/AR operation, a better understanding of these factors is needed. The current study thus aims to better characterize and model arsenic remobilization at ASR/AR sites by compiling and analyzing available kinetic data on arsenic mobilization from arsenopyrite under different aqueous conditions. More robust and widely applicable rate laws are developed for geochemical conditions relevant to ASR/AR. Sensitivity analysis of these new rate laws gives further insight into the controlling geochemical factors for arsenic mobilization. When improved rate laws are incorporated as the inputs for reactive transport modeling, arsenic mobilization in ASR/AR operations can be predicted with an improved accuracy. The outcomes will be used to guide groundwater monitoring and specify ASR/AR operational parameters, including water pretreatment requirements prior to injection.

  • Heavy metal exposure has adverse effects on the growth and development of preschool children 2018-04-25


    The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between levels of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), and manganese (Mn) in the PM2.5 and blood and physical growth, and development parameters including birth length and weight, height, weight, body mass index (BMI), head circumference, and chest circumference in preschool children from Guiyu (e-waste exposure area) and Haojiang (the reference area). A total of 470 preschool children from Guiyu and Haojiang located in southeast coast of China were recruited and required to undergo physical examination and blood tests during the study period. Birth length and weight were obtained by birth records and questionnaire. Pb and Cd in both PM2.5 and blood were significantly higher in Guiyu than Haojiang. Remarkably, the children of Guiyu had significantly lower birth weight and length, BMI, and chest circumference when compare to their peers from the reference area (all p value < 0.05). Spearman correlation analyses showed that blood Pb was negatively correlated with height (r = −0.130, p < 0.001), weight (r = −0.169, p < 0.001), BMI (r = −0.100, p < 0.05), head circumference (r = −0.095, p < 0.05), and chest circumference (r = −0.112, p < 0.05). After adjustment for the potential confounders in further linear regression analyses, blood Pb was negatively associated with height (β = −0.066, p < 0.05), weight (β = −0.119, p < 0.001), head circumference (β = −0.123, p < 0.01), and chest circumference (β = −0.104, p < 0.05), respectively. No significant association between blood Cd, Cr, or Mn was found with any of our developmental outcomes. Taken together, lead exposure limits or delays the growth and development of preschool children.

  • Contamination characteristics of trace metals in dust from different levels of roads of a heavily air-polluted city in north China 2018-04-24


    Concentrations of eight trace metals (TMs) in road dust (RD) (particles < 25 μm) from urban areas of Xinxiang, China, were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The geometric mean concentrations of Zn, Mn, Pb, As, Cu, Cr, Ni and Cd were 489, 350, 114, 101, 60.0, 39.7, 31.6, and 5.1 mg kg−1, respectively. When compared with TM levels in background soil, the samples generally display elevated TM concentrations, except for Cr and Mn, and for Cd the enrichment value was 69.6. Spatial variations indicated TMs in RD from park path would have similar sources with main roads, collector streets and bypasses. Average daily exposure doses of the studied TMs were about three orders of magnitude higher for hand-to-mouth ingestion than dermal contact, and the exposure doses for children were 9.33 times higher than that for adults. The decreasing trend of calculated hazard indexes (HI) for the eight elements was As > Pb > Cr > Mn > Cd > Zn > Ni > Cu for both children and adults.