Biogeochemical reductive dechlorination (BiRD) is a newly recognized method for the remediation or natural attenuation of chlorinated solvents. Chlorinated solvents are rapidly treated by abiotic reaction with reduced mineral iron sulfides. Iron sulfides are formed by naturally occurring sulfate-reducing bacteria when sufficient SO42- and organic carbon are present or supplied to sediments containing mineral iron. An example of site characterization focusing on BiRD is presented focusing on mineral phases. Methods demonstrated here may be employed at other sites to evaluate naturally occurring BiRD or to evaluate an engineered BiRD remediation. A field investigation was performed at a TCE contaminated site at Altus AFB with naturally high concentrations of SO42- and Fe(III) minerals and where an accidental fuel spill provided organic carbon. In the area of this fuel spill significant mineral iron sulfides were found, sulfate was almost completely removed, and TCE was absent. Only small amounts of daughter products were found, further indicating that the BiRD pathway was operative. Mass balance data indicates all of the remaining TCE (182 kg) could be treated by the remaining FeS (66.5 kg) in the upper aquifer; however, the FeS was not co-located with TCE to enable complete reaction. Laboratory microcosm tests with FeS amended and FeS-rich sediment from Altus AFB also suggest that BiRD is capable of destroying TCE. The results suggest that an engineered BiRD treatment is possible for this site.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology