In situ biofilm barriers: Case study of a nitrate groundwater plume, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nuttall, H. Eric
Cunningham, Alfred B.
James, Garth A.
Hiebert, Dwight Randall
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A new use for biofilm barriers was developed and successfully applied to treat nitrate-contaminated groundwater down to drinking water standards. The barrier was created by stimulating indigenous bacteria with injections of molasses as the carbon donor and a combination of yeast extract and trimetaphosphate as nutrients. This injection of amendments results in bacterial growth in the aquifer, which attaches to the sand grains to create a reactive semipermeable biofilm. The biofilm barrier presented in this article reduced the migration of contaminants and provided an active zone for remediation. The cylindrical biobarrier was constructed using eight wells on the perimeter forming a 60-foot-diameter reactive biodenitrification region. Another well at the center was installed to continuously extract the treated water. The intent was to produce a continuous source of nitrate-free water. The system operated for over one year, and during this period, the biobarrier was revived multiple times by reinjecting molasses in the perimeter wells. Nitrate concentrations of treated water decreased from 275 mg/L (as nitrogen) to <1 mg/L.
Dutta L, Nuttall HE, Cunningham A, James G, Hiebert R, "In situ biofilm barriers: Case study of a nitrate groundwater plume, Albuquerque, New Mexico," Remediation, 2005 15(4):101-111