The effects of a dilute (ionic strength = 5 ?? 10-3 M) plume of treated sewage, with elevated levels (3.9 mg/L) of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), upon the pH-dependency and magnitude of bacterial transport through an iron-laden, quartz sand aquifer (Cape Cod, MA) were evaluated using sets of replicate, static minicolumns. Compared with uncontaminated groundwater, the plume chemistry diminished bacterial attachment under mildly acidic (pH 5.0-6.5) in-situ conditions, in spite of the 5-fold increase in ionic strength and substantively enhanced attachment under more alkaline conditions. The effects of the hydrophobic neutral and total fractions of the plume DOC; modest concentrations of fulvic and humic acids (1.5 mg/L); linear alkyl benzene sulfonate (LAS) (25 mg/L); Imbentin (200 ??g/L), a model nonionic surfactant; sulfate (28 mg/L); and calcium (20 mg/L) varied sharply in response to relatively small changes in pH, although the plume constituents collectively decreased the pH-dependency of bacterial attachment. LAS and other hydrophobic neutrals (collectively representing only ???3% of the plume DOC) had a disproportionately large effect upon bacterial attachment, as did the elevated concentrations of sulfate within the plume. The findings further suggest that the roles of organic plume constituents in transport or bacteria through acidic aquifer sediments can be very different than would be predicted from column studies performed at circumneutral pH and that the inorganic constituents within the plume cannot be ignored.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of altered groundwater chemistry upon the pH-dependency and magnitude of bacterial attachment during transport within an organically contaminated sandy aquifer