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PHILOSOPHY: WHY FRACTURE?

Fracturing and Injection Unit

 

This self-contained trailer has the equipment needed to mix reactive treatment slurries, hydraulically fracture the subsurface, and fill the horizontal fractures by injecting the slurries through prepared bore holes which will remediate the contaminated soil/groundwater and prop open the fractures. Fracturing enhances in situ remediation by drastically increasing the area of influence, developing an ideal remedial environment, and creates a controlled preferential pathway to direct contaminants into the treatment zones.

The hopper will hold 34 cubic feet of Isolite™, a special porous ceramic pellet that is used as the preferred and very effective biocarrier for microbes and serves as the proppant for the fractures. The Isolite™ is inoculated with microbes and/or nutrients as it is pushed through the mixer by the hydraulic auger system with control of both volume and pressure. The Isolite™ is then suspended in the fracturing fluid as it reaches the in-line slurry pump. Once the horizontal fracture is initiated in the contaminated zone, a ½ inch thick “pancake-like” fracture, called a BioLux™, approximately 40 feet in diameter can be simultaneously created and filled with the reactive slurry. Although Isolite™ is preferred, other porous inorganic materials, such as sand, may be used.

What is the X-PeRT™ Design System?

 

PeRT: Permeable Reactive Treatment techniques are used in cleaning up contaminated groundwater. The systems are permeable to groundwater but are reactive in that they trap and treat the contamination being transported by the groundwater.

 

An X-PeRT™ design system becomes the foremost remediation solution (in terms of cost and effeciency) for the particular project after all X-factors, or project variables, are taken into account in designing and installing the permanent reactive treatment sheets in a configuration that will best “capture, treat, destroy, immobilize or convert” the contaminant to harmless compounds or to acceptable regulatory levels.

 

Under FES' licensed X-PeRT™ in situ technologies, “X” equals all the specific variations of the contaminant(s) and site characteristics. FES' design solves for "X."

In some cases, an X-PeRT™ system may require a synergistic two- or three-in-one combination of methods which are applied under the patented technologies.


BioLuxing™ as part of X-PeRT™ Systems


When the X-PeRT System™ is primarily used as an in situ bioremediation technology, the remediation method is called BioLuxing™ because it greatly enhances BIOremediation by creating a LUXurious in situ environment or clean up zone for indigenous or non-indigenous microbes.

These non-pathogenic microbes can naturally and quickly convert the identified contaminant into harmless and/or non-regulated compounds. In BioLuxing™, each treated “pancake-like” fracture is called a BioLux™ and each “stack” (or network) of BioLuxes is referred to as a BioNet™.

 

For example, an X-PeRT™ treatment design may call for six BioNets, spaced 80 feet apart, each containing from 4 to 8 BioLuxes with diameters of 40 feet, stacked above each other at depths between 20 and 40 feet below ground surface. Obviously, the actual design will depend on such X-factors as soil conditions, thickness of the zone of contamination, and depth of groundwater. In areas where the groundwater is shallow, trenched and designed slurry-filled BioWalls™ are utilized.

 

There are several techniques utilized in creating and filling BioLuxes™. A separate bore hole may be created for each fracture allowing it to be recharged individually or converted for other remediation methods. In this case, the fracture is created from the bottom of the casing. Consequently, when this method is used, a designed BioNet™ will consist of several individual bore holes located at different depths in close proximity of each other.

Multiple fractures may also be created at different depths from the same bore hole. In this case, a BioNet™ will consist of one bore hole with several separate fractures created at different depths by use of packers.

 

This video illustrates the process of creating the fractures via packers placed in the bore holes. This video demonstrates one way in which the slurry is injected into each fracture.

 


Core Sample of an Isolite Fracture


This core sample of an inoculated Isolite™ fracture installed in November, 2000, was taken by EPA researchers approximately 10 feet away from a BioLux borehole shortly after installation. The fracture was located within inches of the designed depth. Notice how well the soil fractured and how well the Isolite™ slurry (nutrients, pellets of solid oxygen source (SOS), selected (PM1) microbes and guar gum) holds the fractures open.

 

EPA conducted tests showing that the slow release SOS pellets provided an adequate source of oxygen for the 10 months of the demonstration test. The Isolite™ pellets also slowly released the liquid nutrients during the demonstration. Now, realize that typical BioLuxing™ fractures or reactive treatment sheets are nearly 40 feet in diameter.

 

This fracture was the middle of three BioLuxes™ in a BioNet™ that was established between 18 and 21 feet below ground surface. The PM1 microbes, cultured by the University of California at Davis for and injected in this aerobic system, were known to be degraders of MTBE, the targeted contaminant for this cooperative project. After 10 months, the MTBE had been reduced by 99% (to less than 5 parts per billion) and the microbes were still active in the Isolite™. Using gene probes, EPA tests showed that huge numbers of PM1 microbes were still attached to the injected Isolite™ (100,000,000 PM1 microbes per gram of Isolite™). Approximately 550 pounds, or 16 cubic feet, of Isolite™ were injected into this fracture which was constructed to be converted, if necessary, to enhance other in situ bioremediation methods of air sparging, bioventing and/or soil vapor extraction. The X-PeRT™ design for these patented, multi-purpose treatment systems was team-led by Jeff Fleischman, Chemical Engineer, who served as Foremost Solutions’ project manager.

 

Tracking and Recording
the Direction and Formation of BioLuxes

 

Tilt meters or up-lift rods are spaced radially outwards from the bore hole to moniter and record the path and shape of the fractures as they are being created. Any discernible up-lift is an indication that the fracture has reached that distance from the bore hole. When fracturing near buildings or sensitive areas, state-of-the-art electronic tilt meters, as described in the video below, can measure surface up-lift as minute as the thickness of a business card and provide real time, inferred three dimensional printouts of the fractures.

 

The video seen right is provided by Teaming Partner Pelorus En Biotech Corp.

The video illustrates Pelorus EnBiotech Corporation's elaborate tilt meter monitoring and recording technology. Pelorus, of Evergreen, CO, is a primary teaming partner of FES in designing and installing X-PeRT Systems. The movies and graphs are provided by Pelorus to illustrate how fractures are created and to generate real-time readings as the fractures are being installed.

   

 

X-PeRT™ Reactive Sheets

 

In the diagram below, three separate fractured treatment systems for bioremediation (BioLuxes™) are created from individual bore holes in a designed area to create one BioNet. When the system is designed for a form of chemical remediation, each fractured enhanced treatment zone is referred to as a ChemLux, and the combined zones as one ChemNet. Several Luxes may be created from the same bore hole, when desired, by use of packers. Individual bore holes are usually preferred because of their increased flexibility, including being used as a monitoring well.

 

BioLuxing™ patents include utilizing other in situ technologies once the reactive sheets are emplaced since access to the system is continually available from the surface to recharge or alter the system.

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FAX: 303.989.4968
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