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Perchlorate-contaminated groundwater is a significant environmental problem within the United States. In this study, a numerical model is used to simulate operation of a dual-well groundwater circulation system (known as a horizontal flow treatment well or HFTW system) to mix electron donor into perchlorate-contaminated groundwater in order to stimulate indigenous microorganisms to biologically reduce the perchlorate, which serves as an electron acceptor. The model simulates the physical, chemical, and biological processes that affect the fate and transport of electron donor, perchlorate, and competing electron acceptors like nitrate and oxygen that may also be present in the groundwater. In addition, the model incorporates hydraulic conductivity reductions that may result from biological growth near the wells (i.e. bioclogging). The model was applied to simulate operation of an HFTW system that is being designed to inject an electron donor into perchlorate-contaminated groundwater at the Aerojet facility near Sacramento, California. Model results were used to determine design parameters such as treatment well pumping rates and electron donor injection concentration and schedule. Model results demonstrate that this technology can effectively deliver electron donor to the subsurface to stimulate perchlorate biodegradation and contain the perchlorate plume at the Aerojet facility. The model presented in this study is an important tool in helping design the field evaluation, and it should prove useful in interpreting the evaluation results. Ultimately, it is anticipated that the model will be applied as a design tool for implementing the HFTW technology at other sites with perchlorate-contaminated groundwater.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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