The Feasibility of Bioaugmentation for the Remediation of Chlorinated Solvents: A Microcosm Study
Ellis, James Brian
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Chlorinated solvents are among the most prevalent contaminants at Superfund sites. Perchloroethylene (PCE) and its degradative byproducts pose a particular problem because of their persistence in the subsurface and their threat to ecological health. In this study, microcosms were used to test the viability of bioaugmentation as a possible remediation strategy at a PCE contaminated site at the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. All microcosms were created in duplicate using spatially diverse soils and the bioaugmented series innoculated with a mixed microbial culture provided by the Dr. Frank Loffler. This culture has been found to be capable of completely degrading PCE to ethene. The aqueous ethene concentration was monitored over time. It is clear from the results that bioaugmentation successfully increased the degree of reductive dechlorination over their static counterpart. Without innoculation, shallow static microcosms showed an accumulation of cis-DCE, while deep soils never showed conversion beyond TCE. Shallow bioaugmented microcosms showed the production and loss of vinyl chloride indicated probable complete conversion of PCE to ethene while deep soils showed the production of cis-DCE. These differences in dechlorination between shallow and deep soils indicate a possible disparity in reduction capacity. At day 78, microcosms were spiked with higher concentrations of PCE resulting in a reduction in dechlorination activity. Static microcosms exhibited similar degradative trends but bioaugmented batches experienced dramatic reductions in dechlorination activity indicating possible inhibition effects of native organisms due to concentration or potential toxic shock. It appears that bioaugmentation is a remediation alternative worthy of further study including possible delivery methods, toxicity or inhibition effects of concentration, and fate/transport studies.
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