Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Exposure Research
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > Research & Development > Exposure Research > Publications/Presentations > End Hierarchical Links

 

Geoelectrical Evidence of Microbial Degradation of Diesel Contaminated Sediments

spacer
spacer
Abstract:The alteration of physical properties by microbial activity in petroleum contaminated sediments was investigated using geophysical techniques in laboratory column experiments. Microbial population growth was determined by the Most Probable Number technique (MPN), community dynamics were determined by the rDNA intergenic spacer analysis (RISA),
microbial mineralization of diesel fuel was assessed using dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), enhanced mineral dissolution was determined by dissolved calcium, and the vertical geoelectrical profile was measured using DC resistivity (converted to conductivity). The columns simulated a saturation profile and contained sanitized, uniform sand with the following experimental treatments: diesel + microbes, diesel, microbes, and no treatment.

After 16 months, two important conclusions were drawn. First, the relative increase in magnitude of the parameters measured was highest in the diesel + microbe column (showing at least 110% increase), lower in the diesel column and lowest (actually showing a decrease) in the column with no treatment. Further, the diesel + microbe column showed the greatest increase in oil degrading microbial populations (135 %) compared to the column with no treatment, which showed no changes. Secondly, the depth at which the conductivity reached the maximum occurred within and slightly above the diesel layer (which represents a depth that was originally water wet). It was further observed that the relative change in bulk conductivity below the saturated zone is of a lower magnitude than above <1 0 % ). These results suggest the diesel layer, and the zone slightly above, were the most biologically active. Additionally, the diesel + microbe column showed RISA fragments attributed to microbial succession typically observed in organic contaminant plumes.

A simple Archie's Law analysis was used to estimate the pore water conductivities necessary to reproduce the bulk conductivity measured. This analysis shows that relative to the column with only microbes (selected as the control to be most representative of field conditions), the diesel column revealed a 2.3 fold increase and the diesel + microbe column showed a 3 fold increase in pore water conductivity. This increase was located within the diesel layer above the water saturated zone. Within the saturated zone, the no treatment column showed a 0.81 fold increase, the diesel column a 1.28, and the diesel + microbe column 1.45.
spacer
Citation:Werkema, D., E. Atekwana, E. A. Atekwana, S. Rossbach, and W. Sauck. Geoelectrical Evidence of Microbial Degradation of Diesel Contaminated Sediments. Presented at Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 8-12, 2003.
spacer
spacer
Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
spacer
Division: Environmental Sciences Division
spacer
Branch: Characterization & Monitoring Branch
spacer
Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
spacer
Presented: 12/08/2003
spacer
Related Entries:
spacer
Bullet Item Ground-Water Sampling and Geophysical Methods Development and Evaluation
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
spacer
spacer
spacer

 

ORD Home | Search EPA | Search NERL | Search EIMS | Contacts | Help

 
Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov