1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Residual Resource Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Water Resources Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 GeoSyntec
Microcosm studies investigated the effects of bioaugmentation with a mixed Dehalococcoides (Dhc)/Dehalobacter (Dhb) culture on biological enhanced reductive dechlorination for treatment of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and chloroethenes in groundwater at three Danish sites. Microcosms were amended with lactate as electron donor and monitored over 600 days. Experimental variables included bioaugmentation, TCA concentration, and presence/absence of chloroethenes. Bioaugmented microcosms received a mixture of the Dhc culture KB-1 and Dhb culture ACT-3. To investigate effects of substrate concentration, microcosms were amended with various concentrations of chloroethanes (TCA or monochloroethane [CA]) and/or chloroethenes (tetrachloroethene [PCE], trichloroethene [TCE], or 1,1-dichloroethene [1,1-DCE]). Results showed that combined electron donor addition and bioaugmentation stimulated dechlorination of TCA and 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA) to CA, and dechlorination of PCE, TCE, 1,1-DCE and cDCE to ethane. Dechlorination of CA was not observed. Bioaugmentation improved the rate and extent of TCA and 1,1-DCA dechlorination at two sites, but did not accelerate dechlorination at a third site where geochemical conditions were reducing and Dhc and Dhb were indigenous. TCA at initial concentrations of 5 mg/L inhibited (i.e., slowed the rate of) TCA dechlorination, TCE dechlorination, donor fermentation, and methanogenesis. 1 mg/L TCA did not inhibit dechlorination of TCA, TCE or cDCE. Moreover, complete dechlorination of PCE to ethene was observed in the presence of 3.2 mg/L TCA. In contrast to some prior reports, these studies indicate that low part-per million levels of TCA (<3 mg/L) in aquifer systems do not inhibit dechlorination of PCE or TCE to ethene. In addition, the results show that co-bioaugmentation with Dhc and Dhb cultures can be an effective strategy for accelerating treatment of chloroethane/chloroethene mixtures in groundwater, with the exception that all currently known Dhc and Dhb cultures cannot treat CA.