Enhanced Bioremediation in Clay Soils (PDF)

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This case study evaluates the full-scale in-situ application of an electron donor to enhance biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in clay soils and groundwater beneath an active light industrial property in a congested urban setting.
A pilot test was successful by varying degrees in three test areas as shown by the production of biodegradation daughter products and microbial end products. The results of the pilot test were used to design and implement the full-scale remediation with minimal disturbances to ongoing business operations. After nine months of remediation monitoring, the trichloroethylene (TCE) is degrading to vinyl chloride (VC) and ethylene.
Organic acids, oxidation-reduction potential, and hydrogen monitoring results indicate that the microbial environment for reductive dechlorination was improved throughout the remediation area. TCE concentrations were significantly reduced, while cis-1,2 dichloroethylene concentrations increased then declined during the nine months following the full-scale application. Elevated sulfate concentrations also declined coincident with the reductions in TCE concentrations. VC and ethylene concentrations, however, have increased significantly. It is expected that VC will continue to degrade to ethylene, based on the observed increases in ethylene and other microbial end products. Additional applications of the electron donor are anticipated to complete the remedy. If necessary, a sequential in-situ aerobic remediation process may be required to fully degrade the VC.

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