Subsurface Enviromental Solutions

LNAPL recovery optimization at former petroleum refinery

Former Derby Refinery
Wichita, Kansas


The El Paso Merchant Energy Petroleum Company (EPME-PC) approached Subsurface Environmental Solutions, LLC (SES) to provide LNAPL expertise at this 100 acre oil refinery. EPME-PC had commissioned a laser-induced fluorescence investigation of the property, but was finding calibration of the data a challenge.

EPME-PC was also finding on-site recovery of LNAPL to be both successful and profitable, but could not predict where the best areas for recovery could be found on-site. Significant emphasis had been placed on using LNAPL thickness in wells to site recovery wells. But LNAPL thickness proved to be a poor metric for LNAPL recoverability. SES developed an innovative scope of work to calibrate site LIF data, and developed a site- wide LNAPL mobility map to use in predicting high-recovery LNAPL areas.

SES Value Added

  • Negotiated the scope of an LNAPL Management Plan with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)
  • Directed installation of direct push borings parallel to 30 of the previously installed LIF borings
  • Analyzed over 300 soil samples in the field using Ultraviolet Fluorescence field screening for DRO/EPH and GRO/VPH
  • Created 3D site model with Surfer and Voxler showing CPT and LIF
  • Developed method to calibrate LIF data with field screening and analytical laboratory data
  • Developed a site-wide mobility map to show EPME-PC where the most favorable locations for LNAPL recovery would be found


Todd Muelhoefer
Kinder Morgan