Analytical solutions for free-hydrocarbon recovery using skimmer and dual-pump wells

Russell T. Johns, Larry W. Lake, Abimbola B. Obigbesan, Leonardo Bermudez, M. R. Hassan, Randall J. Charbeneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Accidental release of petroleum hydrocarbons to the subsurface may occur through spills around refineries, leaking pipelines, storage tanks, or other sources. If the spill is large, the hydrocarbon liquids may eventually reach a water table and spread laterally in a pancake-like lens. Hydrocarbons that exist as a separate phase are termed light nonaqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs). The portion of the LNAPL that is mobile, not entrapped as residual saturation, is termed "free product." This paper presents new analytical solutions for the design of long-term free-product recovery from aquifers with skimmer, single- and dual-pump wells. The solutions are for steady-state flow, based on the assumption of vertical equilibrium, and include the effect of coning of LNAPL, air, and water on flow. The solutions are valid for soils of large hydraulic conductivity where the effect of capillary pressure on coning is small. The results show how to estimate the maximum rate of inflow of LNAPL for skimmer wells, i.e., wells in which LNAPL is recovered with little or no water production. The paper also shows how to calculate the increase in LNAPL recovery when water is pumped by single- or dual-pump wells. A simple equation is given that can be used to adjust the water rate to avoid smearing of the LNAPL below the water table.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalGround Water Monitoring and Remediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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