In situ bioreclamation of contaminated groundwater

Bruce E. Rittmann, Albert J Valocchi, Joseph E. Odencrantz, Wookeun Bae

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter/report contribution


This report summarizes the results of a research project aimed at developing a better mechanistic understanding of the phenomena controlling in situ biological activity. A methodology involving laboratory-column experiments and computer modeling was utilized to investigate the formation of biologically active zones (BAZs) when a limiting electron acceptor (NO3-) is injected along the flow path and the secondary utilization of trace-level pollutants contained in the water flowing through the BAZ. Laboratory experiments conducted in a unique one-dimensional porous-medium column demonstrated the relationship between lateral injection of NO3- and the location and extent of BAZs when acetate was present as the sole carbon source. BAZs established and sustained by acetate and NO3- were able to degrade trace-level halogenated compounds. The fundamental phenomena of BAZ formation and the utilization of limiting, nonlimiting, and secondary substrates were expressed quantitatively in a computer model that coupled principles of one-dimensional solute transport and steady-state-biofilm kinetics. A new, highly efficient solution algorithm was developed to solve directly for the steady-state profiles of the limiting substrate and biofilm mass, as well as for non-limiting and secondary substrates. The predictive ability of the model was verified by successful simulation of the laboratory experiments using independently determined kinetic parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch Report - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Water Resources Center
StatePublished - Dec 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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