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Washington State University Chemical Oxidations/ISCO Laboratory

Dr. Rick Watts and Dr. Amy Teel


ISCO Research and Treatability Testing

Environmental contamination of soil and groundwater with organic compounds is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. A widely used method for treating such contaminated sites is in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO). ISCO is the injection of chemical oxidants into the subsurface to destroy contaminants at their source, without digging out soil or pumping out groundwater for treatment. The Rick Watts WSU ISCO lab uses advanced lab design and conducts basic research aimed at understanding and improving ISCO technologies, and also performs treatability studies for the remediation industry.


Much of our research is focused on understanding the fundamental chemical mechanisms of ISCO technologies in order to improve their practical effectiveness in the field. Over the past 24 years we have published groundbreaking papers on catalyzed H2O2 propagations (CHP) ISCO (formerly known as modified Fenton’s reaction) and activated persulfate ISCO. We have identified previously unknown mechanisms in these systems that increase the range of contaminants that can be treated, including contaminants with a high oxidation state and those that are sorbed to soil or present as dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). See our publications page for a complete listing of our published research.

Treatability testing

Our deep understanding of the complex chemical reactions occurring in CHP ISCO and persulfate ISCO systems gives us an edge in conducting bench scale treatability studies for remediation practitioners. We have extensive experience in the destruction of DNAPLs and sorbed contaminants, CHP stabilization, persulfate activation, and the interaction of CHP and persulfate with soil mineralogy and soil organic matter. Our treatability studies can quickly identify the best treatment options for a contaminated site before expensive pilot studies are conducted. See our page on ISCO treatability testing for more details and contact information.


WSU ISCO Laboratory

Richard J. (Rick) Watts, Ph.D., P.E., Professor
Amy L. Teel, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Washington State University
Pullman, Washington