Definition, objectives, and evaluation of natural attenuation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Natural attenuation offers large benefits to owners and managers of contaminated sites, but often raises strong objections from those who live and work near a site and are asked to assume most of the long-term risks. Part of the controversy comes about because published definitions of natural attenuation do not identify a realistic end-point objective, and they also are ambiguous about the naturally occurring processes that can achieve the objective. According to guidance from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC 2000), destruction and strong immobilization are the naturally occurring processes that achieve a realistic objective: containing the contaminant relatively nears its source, thereby minimizing exposure risks. The strategy for obtaining solid evidence that the objective is being achieved requires measurements that establish a cause-and-effect relationship between contaminant loss and a destruction or strong-immobilization reaction. The cause-and-effect relationship is best documented with reaction footprints, which typically are concentration changes in reactants or products of the destruction or immobilization reaction. MTBE presents a contemporary example in which footprint evidence for biodegradation is especially crucial, since aerobic biodegradation of MTBE requires special conditions not present at all sites: a high availability of dissolved oxygen and bacteria expressing particular oxygenase enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-357
Number of pages9
JournalBiodegradation
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Natural attenuation
natural attenuation
Biodegradation
Immobilization
immobilization
MTBE
Impurities
footprint
Oxygenases
biodegradation
Dissolved oxygen
Bacteria
Managers
Enzymes
pollutant
Availability
dissolved oxygen
enzyme
Oxygen
bacterium

Keywords

  • footprints
  • monitoring
  • MTBE
  • natural attenuation
  • remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology

Cite this

Definition, objectives, and evaluation of natural attenuation. / Rittmann, Bruce.

In: Biodegradation, Vol. 15, No. 6, 12.2004, p. 349-357.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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