In Situ Decontamination of Spills and Landiflls by Radio Frequency Heating
Bridges, Jack E.
Snow, Richard H.
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A water-containing region at or near the surface of the earth, such as a landfill, that is contaminated with hazardous materials is decontaminated by heating the region with bound radio frequency energy from a bound-wave transmission line excitor array disposed outside the region to a temperature to boil water and thereby increase the permeability of the region. The heating is continued by dielectric heating after water has boiled from at least a portion of the region to heat the portion to elevated temperatures substantially above the boiling point of water. The materials may then be rendered innocuous in situ in a number of ways, as by pyrolysis, thermally assisted decomposition, or reaction with an introduced reagent, such as oxygen. The materials may also be driven from the region, as by distillation or by evaporation and steam drive and then collected and disposed of, as by incineration.