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Surfactant-enhanced Soil & Groundwater Remediation


Soil & Groundwater Remediation


    S-ISCO Technology


    SEPR Technology


    Our Surfactants


Learn in Under Five


Case Studies







S-ISCO White Paper


NAPL Remediation


S-ISCO Effects on Contaminant Liberation


Remediation Journal Publication - Surfactant-Oxidant Co-Application for Soil and Groundwater Remediation


Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology -  Remediation of soil contaminated by PAHs
and TPH using alkaline activated persulfate
enhanced by surfactant addition at flow





Remediation Survey Form





177 Governor's Hwy

South Windsor, CT 06074




  • Low cost

  • Source destruction - LNAPL, DNAPL

  • No rebound

  • In situ - under buildings, structures, &


  • Environmentally friendly

  • Can be safely injected, without disruption to the surrounding community or sensitive receptors

EthicalChem operates with a flexible business model providing chemical supply, technical support, full-scale remedial design, and/or implementation project management. Levels of support are based on client preference and site specific requirements. We provide our clients with cost effective approaches to achieve project goals. EthicalChem's products and technologies have been implemented at over 100 sites throughout nine countries.


Our Technologies

EthicalChem patented surfactant enhanced remediation treatments, S-ISCO (Surfactant-enhanced In Situ Chemical Oxidation) and SEPR (Surfactant Enhanced Product Recovery) are innovative, environmentally friendly technologies.

Surfactant-enhanced In Situ Chemical Oxidation (S-ISCO)


EthicalChem’s patented Surfactant-enhanced In Situ Chemical Oxidation (S-ISCO) technology is designed to treat tightly sorbed, hydrophobic contamination and residual non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contamination in subsurface soils. By addressing the source of contamination, S-ISCO eliminates the potential for rebound and provides a permanent solution for contaminated sites.


The S-ISCO process combines E-Mulse (Formerly VeruSOL), a biodegradable, plant-based surfactant/co-solvent mixture, with an oxidant to destroy soil contamination in-place. E-Mulse desorbs contaminants from subsurface soils and emulsifies them into the aqueous phase, thereby greatly increasing the contaminant surface area exposed to the oxidants, making them substantially more accessible for oxidative destruction. A field-proven technology, S‑ISCO has been implemented domestically and internationally on a broad range of contaminated sites, providing timely and permanent solutions to soil, water, and residual free-phase contamination.


The S-ISCO Advantage:


  • In place source destruction, in soil, through enhanced oxidant & contaminants contact

  • Remedial option for sites with roadways, utilities, and structures

  • Results achieved in weeks or months, providing faster, more complete remedies than competing alternatives

  • Permanent, eliminates rebound

  • Safe and cost competitive

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Surfactant enhanced in situ chemical oxidation

S-ISCO was implemented to remediate a 0.73 acre property in  Long Island City, Queens, NY  to commercial use. The site received a certificate of completion and is listed on the NYDECs Brownfield Cleanup Program Deemed Complete list as BCP Site Number C241087.  Construction of a 22,000 square foot community library has begun at the site and is anticipated to be completed in 2017.


Surfactant Enhanced Product Recovery


EthicalChem’s Surfactant Enhanced Product Recovery (SEPR™) is an innovative, green chemistry technology for remediation of non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL) in subsurface soils. SEPR combines EthicalChem’s patented, plant-based and biodegradable surfactant and co-solvent blends with low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in an injection-and-extraction process that provides substantial removal of  free-product and residual NAPL from the subsurface. The surfactants desorb and reduce the viscosity of the NAPL, enabling greater mobility toward recovery wells. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide simultaneously releases oxygen gas, causing the surfactant to foam up, creating bubbles, which helps loosen the NAPL and facilitates movement of the free product toward extraction points.

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A Sequenced Treatment


SEPR is often implemented prior to EthicalChem’s patented Surfactant-enhanced In Situ Chemical Oxidation (S‑ISCO) treatment in order to remove bulk free phase material, ultimately increasing the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the subsequent S-ISCO treatment.

product recovery, in situ oxidation
  • NAPL contamination

  • Proprietary surfactant blend and low doses of peroxide are injected

  • Surfactant desorbs and lowers viscosity of NAPL

  • Gas generated from peroxide helps loosen NAPL for extraction

  • NAPL is extracted

  • E-Mulse and oxidant are injected simultaneously

  • E-Mulse emulsifies residual NAPL into micro-sized droplets, facilitating oxidative destruction

  • Soil and groundwater are clean

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Our Surfactants

NOTE: VeruSOL 3 is now E-Mulse 3 from EthicalChem

Principle Uses


EthicalChem’s plant-based surfactants reduce the interfacial tension between the water phase and the immiscible organic contaminants, allowing the contamination to fully desorb from the soil. The surfactants form micelles which encapsulate the organic compounds, bringing them into the aqueous phase where their exposure to the aqueous phase oxidants is significantly increased.


EthicalChem E-Mulse surfactants are pre-approved options for remediation of impacted soil and groundwater sites in LA County per September 2014 revised General WDR by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.


Features & Specifications

  • Biodegradable*

  • Plant-based

  • Effective solubilization of:

    • TPH

    • Creosote

    • NAPL

    • PAHs

    • Chlorinated solvents


Primary Surfactants


EthicalChem provides several surfactants for different applications. The most widely used surfactants for remediation are E-Mulse 10 and E-Mulse 3.


E-Mulse 10 consists of a blend of plant-derived, non-ionic surfactants and is effective for chlorinated solvents and petroleum fuel oils, such as diesel, hydraulic fluid, gasoline, etc.


  • Color:   Yellow to Amber

  • Odor:   Fatty odor

  • Flash point:   >200°F

  • Specific Gravity:   1.030 – 1.038


E-Mulse 3 is an enhanced version of the E-Mulse 10 surfactant blend which also incorporates a plant-based citrus solvent. E-Mulse 3 is used for heavier hydrocarbons, such as MGP, creosote, etc, where the citrus solvent helps to desorb and dissolve the contaminants from the soil.


  • Color:   Yellow to Amber

  • Odor:   Citrus

  • Flash point:   130°F

  • Specific Gravity:   0.972 – 0.984


E-Mulse surfactants are classified as readily biodegradable according to OECD 301D, where E-Mulse 3 biodegraded by 90% within 14 days.
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Surfactant Selection



Surfactant selection is the most important part of implementing surfactant enhanced technologies. The optimal surfactant will maximize results and cost effectiveness of the treatment. A surfactant not well suited to particular site conditions may result in undesired outcomes such as contaminant mobilization, inefficient and costly use of an oxidant, and ultimately lower return on investment due to an ineffective treatment design.


EthicalChem provides surfactant screening tests for all types of sites with fast turnaround and little or no cost (depending on site objectives) to optimize S-ISCO (Surfactant-enhanced In Situ Chemical Oxidation) and SEPR (Surfactant Enhanced Product Recovery) treatments. Surfactants can be selected to provide varied results such as desorption of contaminants or NAPL from soil, reducing viscosity of NAPL, or creating either a stable or unstable emulsion of contaminants with the groundwater.


Selection Process


EthicalChem's surfactant selection process begins with acquiring site soil and/or NAPL (if applicable). Reaction vessels are set up containing the contaminated material along with surfactant solution. Analysis of the reactions vary from visual evaluation of changes in NAPL mobility to analytical work up of the aqueous phases for evaluation of emulsified contaminant.


Visual Evaluation Example of Surfactant Screening


The photograph below illustrates different outcomes resulting from applying multiple EthicalChem surfactants on the same NAPL. Five EthicalChem surfactants were evaluated, all of which have been used successfully at different EthicalChem sites. The far left vial is a control with water and NAPL only. Vials B-F contain NAPL with five different surfactants.


    A        B         C        D        E        F        Vial A - Control: NAPL seen coating/stuck on glass


Vials B/C - Surfactants 1 & 2: NAPL is coating glass, aqueous phase is difficult to see but shows no emulsified material, indicating these two surfactants would be suboptimal for treating this site.


Vial D - Surfactant 3: NAPL readily falls off glass, transparent aqueous phase shows little/no emulsion, indicating this surfactant would be effective for the SEPR process to provide excellent performance for contaminant flushing and extraction. The surfactant has reduced the NAPL viscosity creating a more mobile and extractable NAPL phase.


Vial E - Surfactant 4: NAPL readily falls off glass, aqueous phase is very dark with emulsified NAPL indicating an effective surfactant for the S-ISCO process to provide enhanced contact between contaminant and oxidant. This surfactant created a stable emulsion which has brought the contaminant into the aqueous phase where it is readily accessible to the oxidant.


Vial F - Surfactant 5: NAPL readily falls off glass, transparent aqueous phase shows little/no emulsion indicating this surfactant would be effective for the SEPR process, similar to surfactant 3, to provide excellent performance for contaminant flushing and extraction. This surfactant would be selected over surfactant 3 due to the smaller amount of foam generated.

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