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Water Res. 2010 Mar;44(6):1785-96. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.12.002. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Aerated treatment pond technology with biofilm promoting mats for the bioremediation of benzene, MTBE and ammonium contaminated groundwater.

Author information

1
Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Permoserstr. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany. sven.jechalke@ufz.de

Abstract

A novel aerated treatment pond for enhanced biodegradation of groundwater contaminants was tested under field conditions. Coconut fibre and polypropylene textiles were used to encourage the development of contaminant-degrading biofilms. Groundwater contaminants targeted for removal were benzene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and ammonium. Here, we present data from the first 14 months of operation and compare contaminant removal rates, volatilization losses, and biofilm development in one pond equipped with coconut fibre to another pond with polypropylene textiles. Oxygen concentrations were constantly monitored and adjusted by automated aeration modules. A natural transition from anoxic to oxic zones was simulated to minimize the volatilization rate of volatile organic contaminants. Both ponds showed constant reductions in benzene concentrations from 20 mg/L at the inflow to about 1 microg/L at the outflow of the system. A dynamic air chamber (DAC) measurement revealed that only 1% of benzene loss was due to volatilization, and suggests that benzene loss was predominantly due to aerobic mineralization. MTBE concentration was reduced from around 4 mg/L at the inflow to 3.4-2.4 mg/L in the system effluent during the first 8 months of operation, and was further reduced to 1.2 mg/L during the subsequent 6 months of operation. Ammonium concentrations decreased only slightly from around 59 mg/L at the inflow to 56 mg/L in the outflow, indicating no significant nitrification during the first 14 months of continuous operation. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) demonstrated that microorganisms rapidly colonized both the coconut fibre and polypropylene textiles. Microbial community structure analysis performed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) revealed little similarity between patterns from water and textile samples. Coconut textiles were shown to be more effective than polypropylene fibre textiles for promoting the recruitment and development of MTBE-degrading biofilms. Biofilms of both textiles contained high numbers of benzene metabolizing bacteria suggesting that these materials provide favourable growth conditions for benzene degrading microorganisms.

PMID:
20074770
DOI:
10.1016/j.watres.2009.12.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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