Significant microbial reductive dechlorination of [1,2 14C] cis-dichloroethene (DCE) was observed in anoxic microcosms prepared with unamended, fractured rock aquifer materials, which were colonized in situ at multiple depths in two boreholes at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) in West Trenton, New Jersey. The lack of significant reductive dechlorination in corresponding water-only treatments indicated that chlororespiration activity in unamended, fractured rock treatments was primarily associated with colonized core material. In these unamended fractured rock microcosms, activity was highest in the shallow zones and generally decreased with increasing depth. Electron-donor amendment (biostimulation) enhanced chlororespiration in some but not all treatments. In contrast, combining electron-donor amendment with KB1 amendment (bioaugmentation) enhanced chlororespiration in all treatments and substantially reduced the variability in chlororespiration activity both within and between treatments. These results indicate (1) that a potential for chlororespiration-based bioremediation exists at NAWC Trenton but is limited under nonengineered conditions, (2) that the limitation on chlororespiration activity is not entirely due to electron-donor availability, and (3) that a bioaugmentation approach can substantially enhance in situ bioremediation if the requisite amendments can be adequately distributed throughout the fractured rock matrix.
Additional publication details
Enhanced dichloroethene biodegradation in fractured rock under biostimulated and bioaugmented conditions