Push-pull Tests to Quantify In-situ Naphthalene Phytoremediation Rates

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Virginia Tech


Ten strategically placed push-pull wells were installed to determine in-situ degradation rates at a creosote contaminated site and to assess the contribution of hybrid poplar trees to polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) remediation. Well positioning enabled comparison between contaminated and non-contaminated locations, as well as comparisons between locations with and without trees. Comparison of areas with and without trees enabled an improved understanding of the role that the phytoremediation system has on the overall degradation of PAHs at the site. Bromide, a conservative, non-reactive tracer, was injected in solution along with dissolved oxygen. Twelve push-pull tests (PPTs) were performed, of which three did not include naphthalene in the injection solution, so that the developed method could be evaluated, tested, and yield an initial set of rates to make seasonal and spatial varying in-situ comparisons. Method comparison used for rate analysis found the highest confidence in the method of Snodgrass and Kitanidis (1998) for zero order rates and the method of Haggerty et al. (1998) for first order rates. The largest zero and first order rates, 2.43 mgnaphthalene/L-hr and 1.25 1/hr, respectively, occurred at treed regions in June. Zero and first order winter rates at treed regions were greater by a factor of at least 2.5 when compared to non-treed regions. Degradation rates at treed regions were found to steadily increase by over four times from winter to summer. Results validate that decay variations attributed to phytoremediation can be detected with the push-pull method. PPTs performed at the Oneida site verified observed trends determined from six years of monitoring data, microbial characterization, and microcosm studies.



phytoremediation, naphthalene, creosote, push pull, injection withdrawal, poplar trees