Ethanol Addition for Enhancing Denitrification at the Uranium Mill Tailing Site in Monument Valley, AZ

Borden A. K., Brusseau M. L., Carroll K. C., McMillan A., Akyol N. H., Berkompas J., ...More

WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, vol.223, no.2, pp.755-763, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 223 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11270-011-0899-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.755-763
  • Keywords: Groundwater quality, Natural attenuation, Denitrification, Enhanced bioremediation, Stable isotopes, TRACER TEST, NITRATE, GROUNDWATER, ATTENUATION, ISOTOPE, BIOREMEDIATION, WATER, FIELD
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Past mining and processing of uranium ore at a former uranium mining site near Monument Valley, AZ has resulted in nitrate contamination of groundwater. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential of ethanol addition for enhancing the reduction of nitrate in groundwater. The results of two pilot-scale field tests showed that the concentration of nitrate decreased, while the concentration of nitrous oxide (a product of denitrification) increased. In addition, changes in aqueous concentrations of sulfate, iron, and manganese indicated that the ethanol amendment caused a change in prevailing redox conditions. The results of compound-specific stable isotope analysis for nitrate-nitrogen indicated that the nitrate concentration reductions were biologically mediated. Denitrification rate coefficients estimated for the pilot tests were approximately 50 times larger than resident-condition (non-enhanced) values obtained from prior characterization studies conducted at the site. The nitrate concentrations in the injection zone have remained at levels three orders of magnitude below the initial values for many months, indicating that the ethanol amendments had a long-term impact on the local subsurface environment.