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Enhanced in situ biodegradation of diesei fuel by cyclic vertical water table movement: preliminary studies

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Bioremediation normally employs injection of a nutrient solution and an oxygen source into the contaminated zone. The success of the process depends in part on effective transport of the injected substances through the contaminated zone. Field experiences have shown that the transport is limited by the permeability of the subsurface geologic materials and by the stability of the oxygen source. Vertical movement of the water table can serve to alternately expose the bacteria in the contaminated zone to moisture (when the water table is up) and air (when the water table is down and the pores hold some air) while the organic substrate is available from a continuous layer atop the water table or residuals in the unsaturated zone. The cyclic manipulation of the water table may be accomplished by injection and production of water or air in the contaminated zone. In this paper the results of preliminary laboratory experiments dealing with diesel fuel degradation are presented. A mixed culture of diesel-degrading bacteria was isolated from a soil sample contaminated with bunker oil. Soil columns were used to study the effects of interface movement on the biodegradation of diesel fuel. The bacterial consortium was used to inoculate the soil columns prior to addition of the diesel fuel. After 9 weeks of exposure, with an interface movement cycle period of 48 hours, the effects of the water table manipulation on the amount of diesel fuel degraded were compared to those of an appropriate control with no water table movement. The columns subjected to water table movement had 15% less residual diesel than the static controls after 9 weeks.
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Keywords: air injection; bioremediation; diesel fuel; groundwater; soil contamination

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1993-09-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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