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Fenton's Reagent

The Geo-Cleanse® Process is a patented, in-situ chemical oxidation technology that uses Fenton’s reagent to reduce organic contaminant concentrations in soil and groundwater. The reaction is based on chemistry reported in 1898 by H.J.H Fenton. This chemistry was modified by GCI for use in in-situ environmental applications. The Geo-Cleanse® Process is an aggressive, low pressurized injection of concentrated hydrogen peroxide and ferrous iron catalyst (Fenton’s reagent) that generates a hydroxyl free radical, which acts as the active oxidizing agent. The basic radical-producing reaction is:

where H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide, Fe+2 is ferrous iron, OH· is hydroxyl free radical, OH - is hydroxyl ion, and Fe+3 is ferric iron.

The hydroxyl free radical generated by Fenton’s reagent is a powerful, non-selective oxidant. Oxidation of an organic compound by Fenton’s reagent is rapid and exothermic (heat-producing) and results in the reduction of contaminants to primarily carbon dioxide and oxygen:

Treatable Contaminants

GCI has used the Geo-Cleanse® Process and Fenton’s reagent to treat a large variety of contaminants including:

  • BTEX and other petroleum hydrocarbons
  • Chlorinated Ethanes (1,1,1-TCA) and Ethenes (TCE, PCE)
  • Free-Phase NAPL
  • MGP Constituents (MAH and PAH)
  • Pesticides
  • Explosives

Strengths of Fenton’s Reagent

Limitations of Fenton’s Reagent
Highest oxidizing mass per dollar pH greater than ~8
Bullet Remediation of chlorinated solvents, including ethanes Shallow Contamination
(grade to ~5 ft)
Destruction of NAPL or free-phase contamination Areas where soil loading factors may vary
Source reduction with a natural attenuation plan High Hardness above ~400 mg/L
Saturated and unsaturated environments    
Bullet Efficient in a relatively short period of time    
Most versatile in terms of contaminants    


Chemical Oxidation
Fenton’s Reagent
Bullet Persulfate
Bullet Ozone


Example Aromatic Compound (Benzene) Fenton’s Reagent Oxidation Pathway
Bullet Hydroxl Radical Oxidation Pathway for 1,1,1-TCA [view]

Example Chlorinated Solvent Fenton’s Reagent Oxidation Pathway [view]

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