RNAS Remediation Products

Engineered approaches to in situ bioremediation of chlorinated solvents: Fundamentals and field applications


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Halogenated volatile organic compounds, including chlorinated solvents, are the most frequently- occurring type of soil and groundwater contaminant at Superfund and other hazardous waste sites in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that, over the next several decades, site owners will spend billions of dollars to clean up these sites. New technologies that are less costly and more effective are needed to accomplish hazardous waste site remediation. As these new and innovative technologies are being developed and used, site managers require information on how they work, their performance to date, and how to evaluate their application at a particular site.

This report provides an overview of the fundamentals and field applications of in situ bioremediation to remediate chlorinated solvents in contaminated soil and groundwater. In situ treatment is increasingly being selected to remediate sites because it is usually less expensive, and does not require waste extraction or excavation. In addition, in situ bioremediation is more publicly acceptable than above- ground technologies because it relies on natural processes to treat contaminants.

This document presents information at a level of detail intended to familiarize federal and state project managers, permit writers, technology users, and contractors with in situ bioremediation. The report describes how chlorinated solvents are degraded, how to enhance the process by the addition of various materials and chemicals, design configurations, and the typical steps taken to evaluate technology feasibility at a specific site. It also includes a list of technology vendors and nine case studies of field applications.

It is important to note that this report cannot be used as the sole basis for determining this technology’s applicability to a specific site. That decision is based on many factors and must be made on a case-by- case basis. Technology expertise and sometimes treatability studies also are required to make a final remedy decision.

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