Electro-osmotic infusion of ground water or chemically tailored electrolyte is used to enhance, maintain, or recondition electrical conductivity for the joule heating remediation technique. Induced flows can be used to infuse electrolyte with enhanced ionic conductivity into the vicinity of the electrodes, maintain the local saturation of near-electrode regions and resaturate a partially dried out zone with groundwater. Electro-osmotic infusion can also tailor the conductivity throughout the target layer by infusing chemically modified and/or heated electrolyte to improve conductivity contrast of the interior. Periodic polarity reversals will prevent large pH changes at the electrodes. Electro-osmotic infusion can be used to condition the electrical conductivity of the soil, particularly low permeability soil, before and during the heating operation. Electro-osmotic infusion is carried out by locating one or more electrodes adjacent the heating electrodes and applying a dc potential between two or more electrodes. Depending on the polarities of the electrodes, the induced flow will be toward the heating electrodes or away from the heating electrodes. In addition, electrodes carrying a dc potential may be located throughout the target area to tailor the conductivity of the target area.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.