, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 341-352

Biodegradation of gasoline and BTEX in a microaerophilic biobarrier

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Abstract

Continuous bioremediation of gasoline-contaminatedwater in a packed-bed biobarrier system underoxygen-limited conditions is discussed. This studywas part of an extensive effort to develop analternative technology for the in situbioremediation of hydrocarbons where there is alimited supply of oxygen. Protruded stainless steelpieces and granulated peat moss were used as packingmaterial to support microbial growth in twobiobarriers. The inoculum was an enrichment culture ofan indigenous microbial population from a soil sample.The biobarriers' inlet gasoline concentrations and thelinear liquid velocities were similar to thosecommonly found at in situ conditions. Gasolineremoval efficiencies ranged from 94% to 99.9% in thestainless steel-packed biobarrier, and from 86.6% to99.6% in the peat moss-packed biobarrier. Effluentgasoline concentrations below 0.03 mg/l were obtainedat gasoline loading rates less than 27.5 mg/l.d in thestainless steel-packed biobarrier. The remainingfraction of gasoline in the effluent consisted mainlyof three aliphatic compounds and not the aromaticcompounds. Both biobarrier packings supported nearcomplete removal of the most soluble aromatichydrocarbons of gasoline (BTEX) under all theconditions examined. The consumption of sulfate andthe presence of sulfate-reducing microorganismssuggested the presence of anaerobic metabolism duringthe degradation of gasoline. Up to 92% gasoline wasremoved during the first 3 cm of the biobarriers'length.