Non-aqueous phase liquid

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Non-aqueous phase liquids or NAPLs are liquid solution contaminants that do not dissolve in or easily mix with water (hydrophobic), like oil, gasoline and petroleum products.[1]

NAPLs tend to contaminate soil and groundwaters.[2][3] Many common groundwater contaminants such as chlorinated solvents and many petroleum products enter the subsurface in nonaqueous-phase solutions.[4] They do not mix readily with water and therefore flow separately from ground water.[5]

If the NAPL is denser than water, like trichloroethylene, it is called DNAPL and will tend to sink once it reaches the water table. If it is lighter, like gasoline, it is called LNAPL and will tend to float on the water table. [6]


  1. ^ National Research Council, 1994
  2. ^ Konečný F, Boháček Z, Müller P, Kovářová and M, Sedláčková (2003). "Contamination of soils and groundwater by petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds..." (PDF). Bulletin of Geosciences. 78 (3): 1214. Retrieved May 27, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Huling, Scott and Weaver, James (1991). "Dense Nonaquieous Liquids" (PDF). Ground Water Issue. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 27, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ National Research Council, 1993
  5. ^ National Research Council, 1997
  6. ^ National Research Council, 1997

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