, Volume 11, Issue 2–3, pp 159–170 | Cite as

Enhanced anaerobic bioremediation of groundwater contaminated by fuel hydrocarbons at Seal Beach, California

  • Jeffrey A. Cunningham
  • Gary D. Hopkins
  • Carmen A. Lebron
  • Martin Reinhard


Enhanced anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminated by fuel hydrocarbons has been evaluated at a field experiment conducted at the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California. This experiment included the establishment of three different remediation zones in situ: one zone was augmented with sulfate, one was augmented with sulfate and nitrate, and the third was unaugmented. This enables a comparison of hydrocarbon biodegradation under sulfate-reducing, sequential denitrifying/sulfate-reducing, and methanogenic conditions, respectively. In general, the results from the field experiment are: (1) Certain fuel hydrocarbons were removed preferentially over others, but the order of preference is dependent upon the geochemical conditions; and (2) In the zones that were augmented with sulfate and/or nitrate, the added electron acceptors were consumed quickly, indicating that enhancement via electron acceptor injection accelerates the biodegradation process. More specifically, in the sulfate-reducing zone, sulfate was utilized with an apparent first-order rate coefficient of approximately 0.1 day-1. In the combined denitrifying/sulfate-reducing zone, nitrate was utilized preferentially over sulfate, with an apparent first-order rate coefficient of 0.1–0.6 day-1. However, the data suggest that slow sulfate utilization does occur in the presence of nitrate, i.e., the two processes are not strictly sequential. With regard to the aromatic BTEX hydrocarbons, toluene was preferentially removed under intrinsic conditions; biodegradation of benzene was slow if it occurred at all; augmentation with sulfate preferentially stimulated biodegradation of o-xylene; and ethylbenzene appeared recalcitrant under sulfate-reducing conditions but readily degradable under denitrifying conditions.

anaerobic biodegradation BTEX fuel hydrocarbons Seal Beach 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Cunningham
    • 1
  • Gary D. Hopkins
    • 1
  • Carmen A. Lebron
    • 2
  • Martin Reinhard
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Restoration Development BranchNaval Facilities Engineering Service CenterPort HuenemeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA.

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