A side-by-side comparison of bioaugmentation, biostimulation, and a recirculation-only control was implemented in a chloroethene-contaminated aquifer. The objective was to develop a contaminant mass balance based on the analysis of groundwater and aquifer solids and to quantify key dechlorinating populations during treatment to determine their relation to the rate of chloroethenes removed. The bioaugmentation strategy, using a Dehalococcoides-containing PCE-to-ethene dechlorinating inoculum enriched from the same aquifer, resulted in a nearstoichiometric dechlorination of both sorbed and dissolved chloroethenesto ethene within 6 weeks. In the biostimulation plot, continuous lactate and nutrient injection resulted in dechlorination but only following a 3-month lag period. Molecular tools targeting the 16S rRNA genes of Dehalococcoides and Desulfuromonas spp. were used to qualitatively monitor the distribution and quantitatively (RealTime PCR) measure the abundance of the dechlorinating populations during the test. In the bioaugmentation plot, Dehalococcoides populations increased 3-4 orders of magnitude throughout the test area. Dehalococcoides populations also increased in the biostimulation plot but at a slower rate and immediately before the onset of rapid dechlorination. Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis indicated that the inoculum only impacted the bioaugmentation plot. This work extends the knowledge gained from previous field studies which reported qualitative relationships between the occurrence of Dehalococcoides populations and ethene production. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that bioreactive barriers capitalizing on reductively dechlorinating populations to control the migration of chloroethene plumes can be effectively designed once hydrologic information is incorporated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry