Anaerobic Intrinsic Bioremediation of Whole Gasoline

EPA Grant Number: R827015C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827015
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: IPEC University of Tulsa (TU)
Center Director: Sublette, Kerry L.
Title: Anaerobic Intrinsic Bioremediation of Whole Gasoline
Investigators: Suflita, Joseph
Current Investigators: Thoma, Greg , Beyrouty, Craig , Wolf, Duane
Institution: University of Oklahoma
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: February 1, 1999 through January 31, 2000 (Extended to June 30, 2001)
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Integrated Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC) (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research

Objective:

The business practice of relying on intrinsic bioremediation for the removal of spilt gasoline hydrocarbons (HCs) in the environment is a major regulatory issue influencing Risk Based Corrective Action (RBCA) assessments. Intrinsic bioremediation offers promise for the restoration of gasoline-tainted environments with minimal intervention and, therefore, cost to achieve regulatory compliance. However, assessments of intrinsic gasoline bioremediation have generally only focused on the so called BTEX-HC (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene isomers). While the anaerobic bioconversion of BTEX is becoming more widely accepted, regulatory attention is shifting toward the fate of these HC in the presence of other gasoline components. Additionally, the prospects for the microbial metabolism of the non-BTEX HC is also attracting increased regulatory scrutiny. A full appreciation of the prospects for the intrinsic bioremediation of BTEX and other gasoline components is lacking. Further, there is no consensus on the most reliable method of assessing the intrinsic anaerobic bioremediation of HC. Lastly, field evidence for the intrinsic bioremediation of HC,if often indirect and generally relies on inferences based on measured geochemical parameters. A more direct indication of HC decay may possibly be obtained through the use of biomarkers. However, information on the use of biomarkers to assess anaerobic HC decay is simply lacking.

This project will address each of the aforementioned issues by investigating the anaerobic bioconversion of whole gasoline using sediment samples (as inocula) obtained from an IPEC research site in Ft. Lupton, CO known to exhibit the anaerobic intrinsic bioremediation of HCs. This site is easily the most active location we have worked with to date with respect to intrinsic anaerobic HC decay. Moreover, the site is accessible and the focus of ongoing sponsored (DOE) collaborative investigations among investigators from IPEC institutions into the prospects for intrinsic HC remediation. To compare the importance of adaptation experiments will be repeated with material sampled from the Norman landfill site. The latter site is a benchmark for many studies in the literature and represents a well characterized location that is not chronically exposed to HC.

As noted, this project is designed to investigate the anaerobic biodegradation of whole gasoline, rather than Individual components or classes of HCs. Specifically it will address 1) the anaerobic removal of BTEX hydrocarbons in the presence of other HC co-contaminants, 2) the influence of alternate electron acceptors on the processes identified under item 1 above, 3) the prospects for the biodegradation of non-BTEX HCs, 4) the development of biomarkers as indicators of anaerobic HC decay, and 4) the influence of microbial adaptation processes on the items l-3. To these ends, the project will monitor the consumption of electron acceptors and/or the production of metabolic endproducts (i.e. methane or hydrogen sulfide) as appropriate. Specifically, gasoline biodegradation will be examined under denitrifying, iron-reducing, sulfate-reducing, and methanogenic conditions. This information will be coupled with information on the removal of potential electron donors through the simultaneous monitoring of at least 55 HCs using GCYMS analysis. The experiments will be interpreted relative to sterile, HC-unamended, and positive controls. The experiments will help define the limits associated with anaerobic gasoline bioremediation, provide an assessment of gasoline decay under realistic conditions, and allow for the development of new biomarker indications of the anaerobic intrinsic remediation of gasoline.

The proposed research is highly relevant from a societal standpoint. A more complete understanding of the mechanisms of intrinsic bioremediation could make this business practice a common and even preferred remedial option when performing Risk Based Corrective Action analysis or proposing a corrective action plan for any HC-tainted site. There are literally tens of thousands of production wells, tank batteries, and surface and underground storage tanks where leaks have and are occurring in the US. At any site where groundwater is contaminated or threatened by these leaks, predictions based on our results could be used to prioritize the locations needing immediate remedial action. By focusing precious resources on locations where the threat is more acute, a savings will be realized both in terms of financial resources and in terms of rational environmental policy.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 11 publications for this subprojectView all 120 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 1 journal articles for this subprojectView all 16 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Bioavailability, Remediation, Chemistry, State, Northwest, Microbiology, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Environmental Microbiology, Oil Spills, Hazardous Waste, Biochemistry, Bioremediation, Biology, Engineering, Groundwater remediation, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, risk assessment, gasoline, anaerobic treatment, biodegradation, electron acceptor, anaerobic biodegradation, anaerobic bioconversion, hydrocarbons, risk assessments, Ft. Lupton, CO, biological markers, anaerobic bioremediation, anaerobic biotransformation, Colorado (CO)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827015    IPEC University of Tulsa (TU)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827015C001 Evaluation of Road Base Material Derived from Tank Bottom Sludges
    R827015C002 Passive Sampling Devices (PSDs) for Bioavailability Screening of Soils Containing Petrochemicals
    R827015C003 Demonstration of a Subsurface Drainage System for the Remediation of Brine-Impacted Soil
    R827015C004 Anaerobic Intrinsic Bioremediation of Whole Gasoline
    R827015C005 Microflora Involved in Phytoremediation of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons
    R827015C006 Microbial Treatment of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)
    R827015C007 Using Plants to Remediate Petroleum-Contaminated Soil
    R827015C008 The Use of Nitrate for the Control of Sulfide Formation in Oklahoma Oil Fields
    R827015C009 Surfactant-Enhanced Treatment of Oil-Contaminated Soils and Oil-Based Drill Cuttings
    R827015C010 Novel Materials for Facile Separation of Petroleum Products from Aqueous Mixtures Via Magnetic Filtration
    R827015C011 Development of Relevant Ecological Screening Criteria (RESC) for Petroleum Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Exploration and Production Sites
    R827015C012 Humate-Induced Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Surface Soils
    R827015C013 New Process for Plugging Abandoned Wells
    R827015C014 Enhancement of Microbial Sulfate Reduction for the Remediation of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Aquifers - A Laboratory and Field Scale Demonstration
    R827015C015 Locating Oil-Water Interfaces in Process Vessels
    R827015C016 Remediation of Brine Spills with Hay
    R827015C017 Continuation of an Investigation into the Anaerobic Intrinsic Bioremediation of Whole Gasoline
    R827015C018 Using Plants to Remediate Petroleum-Contaminated Soil
    R827015C019 Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Salt-Impacted Soil by Native Halophiles or Halotolerants and Strategies for Enhanced Degradation
    R827015C020 Anaerobic Intrinsic Bioremediation of MTBE
    R827015C021 Evaluation of Commercial, Microbial-Based Products to Treat Paraffin Deposition in Tank Bottoms and Oil Production Equipment
    R827015C022 A Continuation: Humate-Induced Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Surface Soils
    R827015C023 Data for Design of Vapor Recovery Units for Crude Oil Stock Tank Emissions
    R827015C024 Development of an Environmentally Friendly and Economical Process for Plugging Abandoned Wells
    R827015C025 A Continuation of Remediation of Brine Spills with Hay
    R827015C026 Identifying the Signature of the Natural Attenuation of MTBE in Goundwater Using Molecular Methods and "Bug Traps"
    R827015C027 Identifying the Signature of Natural Attenuation in the Microbial Ecology of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Groundwater Using Molecular Methods and "Bug Traps"
    R827015C028 Using Plants to Remediate Petroleum-Contaminated Soil: Project Continuation
    R827015C030 Effective Stormwater and Sediment Control During Pipeline Construction Using a New Filter Fence Concept
    R827015C031 Evaluation of Sub-micellar Synthetic Surfactants versus Biosurfactants for Enhanced LNAPL Recovery
    R827015C032 Utilization of the Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Individual Compounds in Refined Hydrocarbon Products To Monitor Their Fate in the Environment
    R830633 Integrated Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC)
    R830633C001 Development of an Environmentally Friendly and Economical Process for Plugging Abandoned Wells (Phase II)
    R830633C002 A Continuation of Remediation of Brine Spills with Hay
    R830633C003 Effective Stormwater and Sediment Control During Pipeline Construction Using a New Filter Fence Concept
    R830633C004 Evaluation of Sub-micellar Synthetic Surfactants versus Biosurfactants for Enhanced LNAPL Recovery
    R830633C005 Utilization of the Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Individual Compounds in Refined Hydrocarbon Products To Monitor Their Fate in the Environment
    R830633C006 Evaluation of Commercial, Microbial-Based Products to Treat Paraffin Deposition in Tank Bottoms and Oil Production Equipment
    R830633C007 Identifying the Signature of the Natural Attenuation in the Microbial Ecology of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Groundwater Using Molecular Methods and “Bug Traps”
    R830633C008 Using Plants to Remediate Petroleum-Contaminated Soil: Project Continuation
    R830633C009 Use of Earthworms to Accelerate the Restoration of Oil and Brine Impacted Sites