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Assessment of biodegradation potential at a site contaminated by a mixture of BTEX, chlorinated pollutants and pharmaceuticals using passive sampling methods – Case study

Lhotský, Ondřej, Krákorová, Eva, Linhartová, Lucie, Křesinová, Zdena, Steinová, Jana, Dvořák, Lukáš, Rodsand, Torgeir, Filipová, Alena, Kroupová, Kristýna, Wimmerová, Lenka, Kukačka, Jan, Cajthaml, Tomáš
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.607-608 pp. 1451-1465
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), bags, benzene, biodegradation, calcium peroxide, case studies, groundwater, hydrogen peroxide, microbial communities, models, monitoring, oxidation, pollutants, psychotropic agents, remediation, samplers, soil, soil ecology, temperature, toluene, volatile organic compounds
The present study describes a pilot remediation test of a co-mingled plume containing BTEX, chlorinated pollutants and pharmaceuticals. Remediation was attempted using a combination of various approaches, including a pump and treat system applying an advanced oxidation process and targeted direct push injections of calcium peroxide. The remediation process was monitored intensively and extensively throughout the pilot test using various conventional and passive sampling methods, including next-generation amplicon sequencing. The results showed that the injection of oxygen-saturated treated water with residual hydrogen peroxide and elevated temperature enhanced the in situ removal of monoaromatics and chlorinated pollutants. In particular, in combination with the injection of calcium peroxide, the conditions facilitated the in situ bacterial biodegradation of the pollutants. The mean groundwater concentration of benzene decreased from 1349μg·L⁻¹ prior to the test to 3μg·L⁻¹ within 3months after the calcium peroxide injections; additionally, monochlorobenzene decreased from 1545μg·L⁻¹ to 36μg·L⁻¹, and toluene decreased from 143μg·L⁻¹ to 2μg·L⁻¹. Furthermore, significant degradation of the contaminants bound to the soil matrix in less permeable zones was observed. Based on a developed 3D model, 90% of toluene and 88% of chlorobenzene bound to the soil were removed during the pilot test, and benzene was removed almost completely. On the other hand, the psychopharmaceuticals were effectively removed by the employed advanced oxidation process only from the treated water, and their concentration in groundwater remained stagnant due to inflow from the surroundings and their absence of in situ degradation. The employment of passive sampling techniques, including passive diffusion bags (PDB) for volatile organic pollutants and their respective transformation products, polar organic compound integrative samplers (POCIS) for the pharmaceuticals and in situ soil microcosms for microbial community analysis, was proven to be suitable for monitoring remediation in saturated zones.