Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE)


Steam injection was first developed to enhance oil recovery by loosening heavy oil and causing it flow towards wells for extraction. Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE) technology is used in environmental projects to make subsurface NAPL less viscous so it can move more freely to extraction wells. TerraTherm, a Cascade Company’s SEE innovations include pressure cycling which allows us to extract the lighter-end contaminants and effectively deplete the organics in mobile contaminants. 

SEE achieves on-site separation and treatment from steam injection into wells and extraction of hot fluids. Steam propagation is a stable and predictable process, governed by the heat transfer to the formation.

Technology that works for you

  • Access – TerraTherm is one of a limited number of thermal vendors that offer SEE. 
  • Performance - Effective SEE implementation requires specific know-how and experience, which can only be learned through decades of field work and careful study of past projects. TerraTherm’s staff have collectively designed and executed more than 20 SEE projects since 1998. 


TerraTherm uses SEE to treat our client’s groundwater problems and to prevent expensive excavation of the source areas.

SEE can deliver more energy to the subsurface at a lower cost than either thermal conduction heating (TCH) or electrical resistance heating (ERH). This makes SEE an effective remediation approach for:

  • Difficult sites with rapid groundwater flow,
  • Large source areas (more than 10,000 cy), and,
  • Heavy contamination levels (more than 15,000 lbs),
  • High permeability sites, where groundwater flow is too rapid for TCH and ERH to be effective,
  • Deep sites, where TCH and ERH are excessively expensive due to drilling costs and tight electrode or heater well spacing (15 to 20 ft well spacing compared to SEE well spacings up to 100 ft),
  • Highly stratified sites, where certain stratigraphic layers tend to stay cool when ERH or TCH is implemented. SEE enables complete treatment of the target volume, and, 
  • LNAPL sites, where the objective is to drive the NAPL to extraction wells. Other technologies do not provide the directional driving force to wells, and they distill the oil and leave the heavy components behind.

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