Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 1385–1399 | Cite as

Modeling in situ benzene bioremediation in the contaminated Liwa aquifer (UAE) using the slow-release oxygen source technique

  • Mohamed Mostafa Ahmed MohamedEmail author
  • Nawal E. Saleh
  • Mohsen M. Sherif
Original Article


Dissolved benzene was detected in the shallow unconfined Liwa aquifer, UAE, which represents the main freshwater source for the nearby residence Bu Hasa camp area. The main source of this contamination is believed to be the rejected water released from Bu Hasa liquid recovery plant. In this paper, a finite element model (METABIOTRANS) is used to simulate the fate and transport of the dissolved benzene plume in Liwa aquifer. Different remediation scenarios were simulated in which the slow-release oxygen source (SOS) technique is utilized to minimize benzene concentrations at the nearest camp supply wells downstream of the contamination zone. Results of the remediation scenarios show that the highest biodegradation rates occur when the oxygen source is placed near the plume center; where higher benzene concentrations exist. The nearest oxygen release source to the contamination zone caused higher stimulation to bacterial growth than further down-gradient oxygen sources. It also exhibited longer resident time of oxygen in the aquifer; and therefore, yielded higher reductions in benzene concentrations. However, using one central SOS proved to be insufficient as contaminant escaped laterally. Additional four transverse oxygen sources were necessary to capture benzene that laterally spread away from the contamination zone. These lateral SOSs were essential to reduce benzene concentrations at the supply wells that are located at the plume fringes. Finally, it was found that increasing oxygen release from one source did not always improve remediation; and that using several SOSs with lower release rates could be a more practical approach to enhance benzene biodegradation in the aquifer.


Benzene Biodegradation Slow-release oxygen source Modeling UAE 



This research was partially funded by the Research Affairs at the UAE University (project number 08-01-7-11/09). The authors acknowledge the assistance provided by Abu-Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC). The views expressed are the authors’ own, and do not necessarily represent those of ADDC.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Mostafa Ahmed Mohamed
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nawal E. Saleh
    • 3
  • Mohsen M. Sherif
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil and Environmental Engineering DepartmentUnited Arab Emirates UniversityAl-AinUAE
  2. 2.Irrigation and Hydraulics Department, Faculty of EngineeringCairo UniversityGizaEgypt
  3. 3.Abu-Dhabi Distribution CompanyAbu DhabiUAE

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