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Trade-offs in utilizing of zero-valent iron for synergistic biotic and abiotic reduction of trichloroethene and perchlorate in soil and groundwater

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The advantages and challenges of combining zero-valent iron (ZVI) and microbial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in contaminated soil and groundwater are not well understood. The objective of this work was to identify the benefits and limitations of

The advantages and challenges of combining zero-valent iron (ZVI) and microbial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in contaminated soil and groundwater are not well understood. The objective of this work was to identify the benefits and limitations of simultaneous application of ZVI and bioaugmentation for detoxification of TCE and ClO4- using conditions relevant to a specific contaminated site. We studied conditions representing a ZVI-injection zone and a downstream zone influenced Fe (II) produced, for simultaneous ZVI and microbial reductive dechlorination applications using bench scale semi-batch microcosm experiments. 16.5 g L-1 ZVI effectively reduced TCE to ethene and ethane but ClO4- was barely reduced. Microbial reductive dechlorination was limited by both ZVI as well as Fe (II) derived from oxidation of ZVI. In the case of TCE, rapid abiotic TCE reduction made the TCE unavailable for the dechlorinating bacteria. In the case of perchlorate, ZVI inhibited the indigenous perchlorate-reducing bacteria present in the soil and groundwater. Further, H2 generated by ZVI reactions stimulated competing microbial processes like sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. In the microcosms representing the ZVI downstream zone (Fe (II) only), we detected accumulation of cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) after 56 days. Some ethene also formed under these conditions. In the absence of ZVI or Fe (II), we detected complete TCE dechlorination to ethene and faster rates of ClO4- reduction. The results illustrate potential limitations of combining ZVI with microbial reduction of chlorinated compounds and show the potential that each technology has when applied separately.

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Date Created
2017

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Concurrent reduction of trichloroethylene and perchlorate in continuous flow-through soil columns

Description

The objective of this study was to evaluate possible bioremediation strategy for aerobic aquifers by combining ZVI chemical reduction and microbial reductive dechlorination for TCE and ClO4-. To achieve this objective, continuous flow-through soil columns were used to test the

The objective of this study was to evaluate possible bioremediation strategy for aerobic aquifers by combining ZVI chemical reduction and microbial reductive dechlorination for TCE and ClO4-. To achieve this objective, continuous flow-through soil columns were used to test the hypothesis that bioaugmentation with dechlorinating enrichment cultures downstream of the ZVI injection can lead to complete reduction of TCE and ClO4- in aerobic aquifers. We obtained soil and groundwater from a Superfund site in Arizona. The experiments consisted of 205 cm3 columns packed with soil and ZVI, which fed 1025 cm3 columns packed with soil, biostimulated with fermentable substrates and bioaugmented. Aerobic groundwater was pumped through the ZVI columns. The ZVI reduced the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) of groundwater from +150 mV to -190 mV. The reduced groundwater and biostimulation with fermentable substrates created anaerobic conditions in the bioaugmentation columns favorable for anaerobic microbial activity. Perchlorate (ClO4-) reduction to non-detectable levels occurred after biostimulation. Reduction of TCE to cis-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride and ethene was observed only after bioaugmentation. Within ~120 days of continuous columns operation, ethene was produced in the bioaugmentation columns this dechlorination activity was sustained until the end of experiments. The groundwater from the Superfund site had high concentration of sulfate (~1000 mg/L). Substantial sulfate reduction occurred in the bioaugmentation columns. Complete microbial reduction of TCE and perchlorate is usually challenging in the presence of high sulfate concentration; however, the strategy tested in this study suggests that a bioremediation scheme for simultaneous reduction of TCE and perchlorate in aerobic aquifers containing high sulfate concentration is feasible.

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Date Created
2019