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Impact of Iron Sulfide Transformation on Trichloroethylene Degradation
He, Y. T., J. T. WILSON, AND R. T. WILKIN. Impact of Iron Sulfide Transformation on Trichloroethylene Degradation. GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 74(7):2025-2039, (2010).
To look at the role iron sulfides play in degrading TCE in natural environments and in engineered systems designed for groundwater cleanup
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is one of the most common and persistent groundwater contaminants encountered at hazardous waste sites around the world. A growing body of evidence indicates that iron sulfides play an important role in degrading TCE in natural environments and in engineered systems designed for groundwater cleanup. In this study, we investigate transformation processes of iron sulfides and consequent impacts on TCE degradation using batch experimental techniques, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Our results show that mackinawite is highly reactive toward TCE and no detectable mineralogical changes were detected during the course of reaction. However, freeze-dried FeS transformed to a mixture of mackinawite and greigite during the freeze drying process, with further mineralogical changes during reaction with TCE to lepidocrocite, goethite and pyrite. Newly formed lepidocrocite is a transient phase, with conversion to goethite over time. TCE transformation kinetics show that freeze-dried FeS is 20-50 times less reactive in degrading TCE than non-freeze-dried FeS, and the TCE degradation rate increases with pH (from 5.4 to 8.3), possibly due to an increase of surface deprotonation or electron transfer at higher pH. Results suggest that freeze drying could cause FeS particle aggregation, decreased surface area and availability of reactive sites; it also could change FeS mineralogy and accelerate mineral transformation. These aspects could contribute to the lower reactivity of freeze-dried FeS toward TCE degradation. Modeling results show that FeS transformation in natural environments depends on specific biogeochemical conditions, and natural FeS transformation may affect mineral reactivity in a similar way as compared to the freeze drying process. Rapid transformation of FeS to FeS2 could significantly slow down TCE degradation in both natural and engineered systems.