Document Type : Original Research Paper


Abadan College of Petroleum Engineering, Petroleum University of Technology, Abadan, Iran.


Abadan Refinery is located between Arvandrud and Bahmanshir rivers. These rivers supply urban, industrial and agricultural water of Abadan city. During the war between Iran and Iraq, leakage of large amounts of oil and its refined products from storage tanks, pipe lines, and refinery units of Abadan refinery to surrounding environment occurred. Also, leakage of petroleum and its products during the operation of Abadan refinery to surrounding environment led to conduct a research for determination of oil pollution extension of underground layers in Abadan refinery. Utilization of clays as natural geological barriers in environmental application and pollution control has been widely recognized. Abadan city was formed by recent Estuarine; these alluviums had a diverse variety in grain size and material. In the case of dominant presence of clay in underground layers, petroleum pollution control hypothesis of Abadan refinery is confirmed. In order to prove the above hypothesis the following items were conducted: 1) determination of material type of underground layers, 2) determination of petroleum pollution in underground layers and defining the oil saturation of the cores, and 3) determination of petroleum pollution in underground waters by one year sampling of underground waters along with measurement of piezometric head of groundwater monitoring wells. Location of twenty groundwater monitoring wells was investigated by considering petroleum leakage to surrounding area during and after war. Geological underground layers of Abadan refinery was determined from coring during drilling of the groundwater monitoring wells. The results of this investigation has shown that the material type of underground layers of Abadan refinery had a significant role to encapsulate petroleum leakage, in such a manner that leaked petroleum was observed in all of the drilled boreholes. On the other hand floated leaked petroleum on groundwater was observed just in two groundwater monitoring wells. These two polluted groundwater monitoring wells were shown to be from leakage of recent activities of Abadan refinery. Finally the results show that the majority of existing petroleum in underground layers of Abadan refinery was absorbed by clay


Allen, A., 2002- Attenuation: A Cost Effective Landfill Strategy for Developing Countries. in: van Rooy, J. L., Jermy, C. A. (eds) Engineering Geology for Developing Countries, International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment, pp156-167.
Alther, G. R., 1999- Removal of oil from wastewater with organo-clay, International Water Irrigation Review 19, 44.
Batchelder, M., Mather, J. D. & Joseph, J. B., 1998a- Mineralogical and chemical changes in mineral liners in contact with landfill leachate, Waste Management and Research, 16: 411-420.
Batchelder, M., Mather, J. D. & Joseph, J. B., 1998b- The stability of the Oxford Clay as a mineral liner for landfill. Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, 12: 92-97.
Beall, G. W., 1984- Method of breaking emulsions; absorption of a quaternary ammonium exchanged clay in wastewater, U.S. Patent 4,470,912.
Beall, G. W., 1985a- Process for treating organic contaminated water; organoclay absorption column followed by active carbon, U.S. Patent 4,517,094.
Beall, G. W., 1985b- Method of removing organic contaminants from aqueous compositions; absorption with reaction product of clay and quaternary ammonium salt, U.S. Patent 4,549,590.
Beall, G. W., 1996- Method of removing water-insoluble organic contaminants from an acidic aqueous stream, U.S. Patent 5,567,318.
Bergaya, F., Theng, B. K. G. & Lagaly, G., 2006- Handbook of Clay Science, Developments in Clay Science, Elsevier Ltd Vol. 1. 1246 p.
Cheremisinof,  N. P., 2002- Handbook of water and wastewater treatment technologies, Butterworth-Heinemann Publication, USA.
Chhabra, R., Pleysier, J. & Cremers, A., 1975- The Measurement of the Cation Exchange Capacity and Exchangeable Cations in Soils: A New Method. Proc. Int. Clay Conf., 439-449; Wilmette.
Deuel, L. E. Jr., 1993- Evaluation of limiting constituents suggested for land disposal of exploration and production wastes. API publication 4527, Washington, DC, 20005
DoE (Department of the Environment), 1978- Cooperative Programme of Research on the Behavior of Waste in Landfill Sites, HMSO, pp.169
Environmental Health, 2002- World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Amman, Jordan.
Grim, R. E., 1962- Applied Clay Mineralogy, 1st edition. McGraw-Hill, New York, 422 p.
Haydel, S. E., Remenih, C. M. & Williams, L.,B., 2008- Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 61(2): 353-361.
Holmes, M., 1973- Oil and penguin don’t mix. National Geographic Magazine, 143(3): 384-397.
Jaynes, W. F., Vance, G. F., 1996- BTEX sorption by organo-clays: cosorptive enhancement and equivalence of interlayer complexes. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 60: 1742–1749.
Kokai, T., 1975- Japanese Patent Application 25,489.
Lo, I. M. C., Yang,  X. Y., 2001- Laboratory investigation of the migration of hydrocarbons in organobentonite. Environmental Science and Technology, 35: 620–625.
Lorenzen, D., Conway, R. A., Jackson, L. P., Hamza, A. & Perket, C. L., 1986- Hazardous an Industrial Solid Waste Testing and Disposal. Sixth Volume, ASTM STP933, ASTM, Philadelphia, 93-103.
Lund, E., Nissen, B., 1986- Low technology water purification by bentonite clay flocculation as performed in Sudanese villages: virological examinations. Water Research, 20: 37–43.
Mackenzie, R. C., 1979- Clay mineralogy—whence and whither? In: Mortland, M.M., Farmer, V.C. (Eds.), International Clay Conference. Developments in Sedimentology 27. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 1–14.
Madsen, M. & Schlundt,  J., 1989- Low technology water purification by bentonite clay flocculation as performed in Sudanese villages: bacteriological examinations. Water Research, 23: 873–882.
Martin, W. F., Lippitt, J., Webb, M.  P. J., 2002- Hazardous Waste Handbook for Health and Safety, 3rd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann Publication.
McBride, M. B. & Mortland, M. M., 1973- Segregation and exchange properties of alkylammonium ions in a smectite and vermiculite. Clays and Clay Minerals 21, 323–329.
Mohamed, A. M. O., Yong, R. N., Tan, B. K., Farkas, A. & Curtis, L. W., 1994- Geo-environmental assessment of a micaceous soil for its potential use as an engineered clay barrier. Geotechnical Testing Journal, 17: 291-304.
Olsen, A., 1987- Low technology water purification by bentonite clay and moringa oleifera seed flocculation as performed in Sudanese villages: effects on schistosoma mansoni cercariae, Water Research 21: 517–522.
Percival, C., Schroeder, C. & Leape, J., 1992- Environmental Regulation: Law, Science, and Policy, 2nd edition. New York, Little Brown and Company, 1354 p.
Powers, J. P., 1992- Construction Dewatering: new Method and Applications, 2nd edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 528 p.
Quigley, R. M. & Rowe, R. K., 1986- Leachate migration through clay below a domestic waste landfill, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada: Chemical interpretation and modeling philosophies, In: Lorenzen, R.A., Conway R.A. (eds.)  Hazardous and Industrial Waste Testing and Disposal, American Society for Testing and Material, pp. 93-103.
Robertson, R. H. S., 1986- Fuller’s Earth: A History of Calcium Montmorillonite, 1st edition. Volturna Press, Hythe, Kent. 421 p.
Roehl,  K. E. & Czurda, K., 1998- Diffusion and solid speciation of Cd and Pb in clay liners. Applied Clay Science, 12: 387-402.
Roehl, K. E., 1999- Assessment of Contaminant Retention in Clay Barriers. Conference of the European clay groups association conference Euroclay 1999, Krakow, Poland, p.127.
Rowe, R. K., Quigley, R. M. & Booker, J. R., 1995- Clayed barrier systems for waste disposal facilities, 1st edition. Spon Press Publishing, 560 p.
Salim, I. A., Miller, C. J. & Howard, J. L., 1996- Sorption Isotherm – Sequential Extraction Analysis of Heavy Metal Retention in Landfill Liners. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 60: 107-114.
Sharmasarkar, S., Jaynes, W. F., Vance, G. F., 2000- BTEX sorption by montmorillonite organo- clays: TMPA, ADAM, HDTMA. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 119: 257–273.
Thury, M., 2002- The characteristics of opalinus clay investigated in the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory in Switzerland. C. R. Physique, 3: 923-933.
U.S. Army TM 5-814-7, 1984- Hazardous waste and disposal/land treatment facilities, Head quarters department of the army.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 1997- Subsurface Investigation Practice Manual. FHWA H1-97-021.
Verstricht, J.,  Blümling, P. & Merceron, T., 2003- Repository concepts for nuclear waste disposal in clay formations, Field Measurements in Geomechanics, Proc. of the 6th Int. Symp., Oslo (Norway).
Warith, M. A., Yong, R. N., 1991- Landfill leachate attenuation by clay soil. Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials, 8: 127-141.
Williams, C. E., 1987- Containment applications for earthen liners. In Proceedings of the 1987 Specialty Conference on Environmental Engineering (Ed. Dietz, J.D.) ASCE, 122-128.
Xu, S., Sheng, G. Y. & Boyd, S. A., 1997- Use of organoclays in pollution abatement. Advances in Agronomy, 59: 25–62.