Environmental technology

Effects of triethyl phosphate and nitrate on electrokinetically enhanced biodegradation of diesel in low permeability soils.

PMID 17879844


Bench-scale experiments for electrokinetically enhanced bioremediation of diesel in low permeability soils were conducted. An electrokinetic reactor (ER) was filled with kaolin that was artificially contaminated with diesel at a level of 2500 mg kg(-1). A constant voltage gradient of 1.0 V cm(-1) was applied. In phosphorus transport experiments, KH2PO4 was not distributed homogeneously along the ER, and most of the transported phosphorus was converted to water-insoluble aluminum phosphate after 12 days of electrokinetic (EK) operation. However, the advancing P front of triethyl phosphate (TEP) progressed with time and resulted in uniform P distribution. The treatments employed in the electrokinetically enhanced bioremediation of diesel were control (no addition of nitrogen and phosphorus), NP (KNO3+ KH2PO4), NT (KNO3+ TEP), UP (urea+ KH2PO4), and UT (urea+TEP). Analysis of effluent collected during the first 12 days of EK operation showed that diesel was not removed from the kaolin. After nutrient delivery, using the EK operation, the ER was transferred into an incubator for the biodegradation process. After 60 days of biodegradation, the concentrations of diesel in the kaolin for the NP, NT, UP, UT, and control treatments were 1356, 1002, 1658, 1612, and 2003 mg kg(-1), respectively. The ratio of biodegraded diesel concentration to initial concentration (2465 mg kg(-1)) in NP, NT, UP, UT, and control were 45.0%, 59.4%, 32.7%, 34.6%, and 18.7%, respectively. This result showed that TEP, treated along with NO3-, was most effective for the biodegradation of diesel. TEP was delivered more efficiently to the target zones and with less phosphorus loss than KH2PO4. However, this facilitated phosphorus delivery was effective in biodegrading diesel under anaerobic conditions only when electron acceptors, such as NO3-, were present.