1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Water Resources Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Residual Resource Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Université de Neuchâtel
The fate and treatability of 1,1,1-TCA by natural and enhanced reductive dechlorination was studied in laboratory microcosms. The study shows that compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) identified an alternative 1,1,1-TCA degradation pathway that cannot be explained by assuming biotic reductive dechlorination. In all biotic microcosms 1,1,1-TCA was degraded with no apparent increase in the biotic degradation product 1,1-DCA. 1,1,1-TCA degradation was documented by a clear enrichment in 13C in all biotic microcosms, but not in the abiotic control, which suggests biotic or biotically mediated degradation. Biotic degradation by reductive dechlorination of 1,1-DCA to CA only occurred in bioaugmented microcosms and in donor stimulated microcosms with low initial 1,1,1-TCA or after significant decrease in 1,1,1-TCA concentration (after ∼day 200). Hence, the primary degradation pathway for 1,1,1-TCA does not appear to be reductive dechlorination via 1,1-DCA. In the biotic microcosms, the degradation of 1,1,1-TCA occurred under iron and sulfate reducing conditions. Biotic reduction of iron and sulfate likely resulted in formation of FeS, which can abiotically degrade 1,1,1-TCA. Hence, abiotic degradation of 1,1,1-TCA mediated by biotic FeS formation constitute an explanation for the observed 1,1,1-TCA degradation. This is supported by a high 1,1,1-TCA 13C enrichment factor consistent with abiotic degradation in biotic microcosms. 1,1-DCA carbon isotope field data suggest that this abiotic degradation of 1,1,1-TCA is a relevant process also at the field site.