Biodegradation during contaminant transport in porous media: 3. Apparent condition-dependency of growth-related coefficients

Li L., Yolcubal İ., Sandrin S., Hu M., Brusseau M.

JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY, vol.50, pp.209-223, 2001 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


The biodegradation of organic contaminants in the subsurface has become a major focus of attention, in part, due to the tremendous interest in applying in situ biodegradation and natural attenuation approaches for site remediation. The biodegradation and transport of contaminants is influenced by a combination of microbial and physicochemical properties and processes. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of hydrodynamic residence time, substrate concentration, and growth-related factors on the simulation of contaminant biodegradation and transport, with a specific focus on potentially condition-dependent growth coefficients. Two sets of data from miscible-displacement experiments, performed with different residence times and initial solute concentrations, were simulated using a transport model that includes biodegradation described by the Monod nonlinear equations and which incorporates microbial growth and oxygen limitation. Two variations of the model were used, one wherein metabolic lag and cell transport are explicitly accounted for, and one wherein they are not. The magnitude of the maximum specific growth rates obtained from calibration of the column-experiment results using the simpler model exhibits dependency on pore-water velocity and initial substrate concentration (C-0) for most cases. Specifically, the magnitude of lt., generally increases with increasing pore-water velocity for a specific C-0, and increases with decreasing C-0 for a specific pore-water velocity. Conversely, use of the model wherein observed tag and cell elution are explicitly accounted for produces growth coefficients that are similar. both to each other and to the batch-measured value. These results illustrate the potential condition-dependency of calibrated coefficients obtained from the use of models that do not account explicitly for all pertinent processes influencing transport of reactive solutes. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.