Assessment of Petroleum Leakage in Groundwater of the Abadan Refinery

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Petroleum Eng., Petroleum Univ. of Tech., Abadan

2 Researcher of Petroleum Eng. Dept., Petroleum Univ. of Tech., Abadan


Knowledge of petroleum leakage at oil refineries is vital for environmental study of water and soil pollution. Abadan Refinery is located between the Arvandrud and Bahmanshir rivers in the highly populated area of Abadan city. These rivers supply domestic, industrial, and agricultural water toAbadancity. During the war betweenIranandIraq, enormous volumes of oil and petroleum products leaked from storage tanks and pipelines at Abadan Refinery into the surrounding environment. The resulting pollution is a serious threat and a growing environmental concern for the region. In this work, twenty boreholes were dug to investigate petroleum leaks into the surrounding area both during and after the war. The thickness of petroleum floating on underground waters at the refinery was measured by sampling underground water over a period of one year along with measuring the piezometric heads of groundwater monitoring wells. Also, groundwater movement pattern at Abadan Refinery was determined by measuring the water table in each well over the same period. The results of sampling indicate that oil leaks were observed in just two wells; namely, wells No.3 and No.11. The results also show that the greatest portion of the oil spill in underground layers at Abadan Refinery was absorbed into clay soil.


1- Stegman, R. (2003). Treatment of Contaminated Soil,BerlinPub.,Germany.
2- Ehteshami, M., and Ahmadnia, R. (2006). “Modeling of Petroleum hydrocarbon leakage in soil resources of underground waters.” Environment Science and Thechnology, 29 (2), 47-57.
3- Shadizadeh, S. R., and Zoveidavianpoor, M. (2007). “Investigation of crude oil penetration inAbadanrefinery underground layer.” Research Project,PetroleumUniversityof Technology andAbadanRefinery, (in Persian).
4- Askarzadeh, T., Bazrafshan, A., and Hajipourfard, H. (2003). “Petroleum pollution investigation of groundwater in Arakrefinery.” Environmental Studies, 32, 56-67.
5-, (Dec. 2, 2008).
6- Abdul, A. S. (1988). “Migration of petroleum products through sandy hydrogeologic system.” Groundwater Monitoring Review, 8 (4), 73-81.
7- Chitsazan, M., and Akhtari, Y. (2005). “Evaluating the potential of groundwater pollution in Kherran and Zowericherry plains through GIS-based DRASTIC model.” J. of Water and Wastewater, 59, 39-51.
8- Environmental Protection Agency Office. (2005). Report of Leader Committee About Petroleum Pollution of Tehran Refinery and Suburbs, 2nd volume,Tehran.
9-Chaîneau, C. H., Morel, J. L., and Oudot, J. (1997). “Phytotoxicity and plant uptake of fuel oil Hydrocarbanos.” J. Environ Qual., 22, 1032-1037.
10-Terje, K. (1984). “Effect of oil pollution on the germination and vegetative growth of five species of vascular plant.” Oil and Petrochem Pollut., 2, 25-30.
11-LAND. (2002). “The requirements on treatment of soil and groundwater polluted with oil products and pollution limits.” Ministry of Environment of Lithuania, p 31.
12- Marcinonis, A. (1999). Results of ecohydrogeological investigation and groundwater monitoring network implementation in JS, Lietuvos Kuras gas station, UAB ,Grota Vilnius, 5-20.
13- Short, J. W., and Heintz R. A. (1997). “Identification of exxon valdez oil in sediments and tissue from Prince William Sound and the North Western Gulf of William based in a PAH weathering model.” Environ. Sci. Technol., 31, 2375-2384.
14- Darwishzadeh, A. (1992). Geology of Iran, Amirkabir pub.,Tehran.
15- Memarian, F. (2001). Engineering Geology and Geotechnic, 2nd Ed., Tehran University Pub, Tehran.
16- Hunt, R.E. (1984). Geotechnical Engineering Investigation Manual,McGraw Hill,USA.
17- Zamiran Engineering Co. (2003). Final report of soil mechanic and foundation investigation of Abadan reactor,Tehran, (in Persian).
18- Khuzestan Company of Soil Mechanic and Technical Laboratory. (2003). Report of soil mechanic of wastewater purification of Abadan refinery,Abadan (in Persian),
19- Mandro Consulting Engineer's Co.(1989). Report of research and investigation of soil mechanic, foundation and strength of geotechnical materials of Abadan refinery rebuilding project,Tehran, (in Persian).
20- Peykav Consulting Engineers Co. (2001). Geotechnical investigation report of distillation yard construction of Abadan refinery,Tehran, (in Persian).
21- 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, USA.
22- Chhabra, R., Pleysier, J., and Cremers A. (1975). “The Measurement of the cation exchange capacity and exchangeable cations in soils, A new method.” Proc. Int. Clay Conf., 439-449.
23- Roehl, K. E., and Czurda, K. (1998). “Diffusion and solid speciation of Cd and Pb in clay liners.” Applied Clay Science, 12, 387-402.
24- Salim, I.A., Miller, C. J., and Howard, J. L. (1996). “Sorption isotherm-sequential extraction analysis of heavy metal retention in landfill liners.” J. of Soil Science Society America, 60, 107-114.
25- Rowe, R. K., Quigley, R. M., Mohn, R. (1995). Clayed barrier systems for waste disposal facilities, 1st  Ed., Spon Press Publishing, Kingston.
26- Percival, C., Schroeder, C., and Leape, J. (1992). Environmental regulation: law, science, and policy, 2nd  Ed., Little Brown and Company,New York.
27- Batchelder, M., Mather, J. D., and Joseph, J.B. (1998a). “Mineralogical and chemical changes in mineral liners in contact with landfill leachate.” Waste Management and Research, 16, 411-420.
28- Batchelder, M., Mather, J.D., and Joseph, J. B. (1998b). “The stability of the Oxford Clay as a mineral liner for landfill.” J. of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, 12, 92-97.
29- DoE. (1978). Cooperative Programme of Research on the Behavior of Waste in Landfill Sites, Department of the Environmental, Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO),Malaysia.
30- Warith, M.A., and Yong, R.N. (1991). “Landfill leachate attenuation by clay soil.” Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials, 8 (2), 127-141.
31- McBride, M.B., and Mortland, M.M. (1973). “Segregation and exchange properties of alkylammonium ions in a smectite and vermiculite.” Clays and Clay Minerals, 21, 323-329.
32- Alther, G.R. (1999). “Removal of oil from wastewater with organo-clay.” International Water Irrigation Review, 19 (4), 44.
33- Beall, G.W. (1984). Method of breaking emulsions; Absorption of a quaternary ammonium exchanged clay in wastewater, U.S. Patent, 4,470,912.
34- Beall, G.W. (1985a). Process for treating organic contaminated water; Organoclay absorption column followed by active carbon, U.S. Patent 4,517,094.
35- 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.
36- Beall, G.W. (1996). Method of removing water-insoluble organic contaminants from an acidic aqueous stream, U.S. Patent 5,567,318.
37- Kokai, T. (1975). Japanese Patent Application 25,489.