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The hypothesis that artificial oxic conditions will lead to MTBE biodegradation by indigenous microorganisms in anoxic, gasoline-contaminated aquifers was examined by adding oxygen in the form of a metal peroxide slurry to an anoxic part of gasoline-contaminated aquifer in South Carolina. Field observations of relatively rapid aerobic MTBE biodegradation following oxygen addition suggest that the indigenous bacteria have become acclimated not only to mg/L concentrations of MTBE in the gasoline plume, but also to periodic delivery of oxygen by recharge events. Significant natural attenuation of MTBE could occur if the oxygen limitations naturally associated with gasoline releases can be removed, either under natural conditions where discharging anoxic groundwater comes into contact with oxygen, or artificial conditions where oxygen can be added to aquifers containing mg/L concentrations of MTBE. This final solution might be an effective strategy for intercepting characteristically long MTBE plumes, particularly at sites not characterized by groundwater discharge to land surface. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 222nd ACS National Meting (Chicago, IL 8/26-30/2001).
Additional Publication Details
Biodegradation of MTBE by indigenous aquifer microorganisms under artificial oxic conditions
ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry, Preprints