Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Second Advisor

Dr. William B. Harrison III

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The research goal was to improve the performance of drainage trenches used to recover spilled oil in the subsurface. Different trench designs were compared in two laboratory experiments. The first laboratory experiment clearly demonstrates that the performance of a oil recovering drainage trench could be improved by replacing the standard gravel pack sand used around the drain pipe with mixtures of teflon and sand. The effectiveness of a downgradient impermeable 'backstop' also was studied in the first experiment.

In experiment two, four trench designs were compared: perforated drain pipe; wire-wrapped horizontal well screen; perforated sheet pile; and gravel fill with a vertical drain pipe. The horizontal well screen produced the greatest volume of oil. It had far more open area than the other three designs. The results show that the larger the open area of the drainage pipe, the greater the volume of the recovered oil. This report also demonstrates the importance of considering the other available options of drainage trenches, specially in case of deep and fluctuating water tables.

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