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Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010 Apr;84(4):443-9. doi: 10.1007/s00128-010-9957-4. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Sensitivity of benzene natural attenuation to variations in kinetic and transport parameters in Liwa Aquifer, UAE.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, United Arab Emirates University, PO Box 17555, Al-Ain, UAE.


Dissolved benzene was detected in the shallow unconfined Liwa aquifer (UAE). This aquifer represents the main freshwater source for a nearby residence camp area. A finite element model is used to simulate the fate, transport, and attenuation of the dissolved benzene plume to help decision makers assess natural attenuation as a viable remediation option. Sensitivity of benzene attenuation to uncertainties in the estimation of some of the kinetic and transport parameters is studied. It was found that natural attenuation is more sensitive to microbial growth rate and half saturation coefficients of both benzene and oxygen than initial biomass concentration and dispersivity coefficients. Increasing microbial growth rate by fourfold increased natural attenuation effectiveness after 40 years by 10%; while decreasing it by fourfold decreased natural attenuation effectiveness by 77%. On the other hand, increasing half saturation coefficient by fourfold decreased natural attenuation effectiveness by 46% in 40 years. Decreasing the same parameter fourfold caused natural attenuation effectiveness to increase by 9%.

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