Journal of contaminant hydrology

Bioaugmentation with butane-utilizing microorganisms to promote in situ cometabolic treatment of 1,1,1-trichloroethane and 1,1-dichloroethene.

PMID 19022526


A field study was performed to evaluate the potential for in-situ aerobic cometabolism of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) through bioaugmentation with a butane enrichment culture containing predominantly two Rhodococcus sp. strains named 179BP and 183BP that could cometabolize 1,1,1-TCA and 1,1-dicholoroethene (1,1-DCE). Batch tests indicated that 1,1-DCE was more rapidly transformed than 1,1,1-TCA by both strains with 183BP being the most effective organism. This second in a series of bioaugmentation field studies was conducted in the saturated zone at the Moffett Field In Situ Test Facility in California. In the previous test, bioaugmentation with an enrichment culture containing the 183BP strain achieved short term in situ treatment of 1,1-DCE, 1,1,1-TCA, and 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA). However, transformation activity towards 1,1,1-TCA was lost over the course of the study. The goal of this second study was to determine if more effective and long-term treatment of 1,1,1-TCA could be achieved through bioaugmentation with a highly enriched culture containing 179BP and 183BP strains. Upon bioaugmentation and continuous addition of butane and dissolved oxygen and or hydrogen peroxide as sources of dissolved oxygen, about 70% removal of 1,1,1-TCA was initially achieved. 1,1-DCE that was present as a trace contaminant was also effectively removed (approximately 80%). No removal of 1,1,1-TCA resulted in a control test leg that was not bioaugmented, although butane and oxygen consumption by the indigenous populations was similar to that in the bioaugmented test leg. However, with prolonged treatment, removal of 1,1,1-TCA in the bioaugmented leg decreased to about 50 to 60%. Hydrogen pexoxide (H2O2) injection increased dissolved oxygen concentration, thus permitting more butane addition into the test zone, but more effective 1,1,1-TCA treatment did not result. The results showed bioaugmentation with the enrichment cultures was effective in enhancing the cometabolic treatment of 1,1,1-TCA and low concentrations of 1,1-DCE over the entire period of the 50-day test. Compared to the first season of testing, cometabolic treatment of 1,1,1-TCA was not lost. The better performance achieved in the second season of testing may be attributed to less 1,1-DCE transformation product toxicity, more effective addition of butane, and bioaugmentation with the highly enriched dual culture.