Laboratory microcosms were prepared under methanogenic, sulfate-reducing, and aerobic conditions using sediment and groundwater from a freshwater wetland that is a discharge area for a trichloroethylene (TCE) to evaluate potential biodegradation rates of TCE and its anaerobic daughter products (cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride (VC)). Anaerobic degradation of TCE was about an order of magnitude faster under methanogenic conditions than under sulfate-reducing conditions. Both 12DCE and VC were found under sulfate-reducing conditions in the microcosms containing the wetland sediment, but their production, especially for VC, was substantially slower than under methanogenic conditions. Methane concentrations remained approximately constant (when losses in the formalin-amended controls are considered) in the microcosms amended with TCE and increased in the microcosms amended with the 12DCE isomers and VC during the first 18-25 days of incubation. The most rapid decrease in concentrations of TCE, cis-12DCE, trans-12DCE, and VC was found after aerobic methane-oxidizing conditions were definitely established.
Additional publication details
Biodegradation of trichloroethylene and its anaerobic daughter products in freshwater wetland sediments