Nitrate and Perchlorate Bioremediation in Ground Water

In Situ Nitrate and Perchlorate Bioremediation Eliminated Pump and Treat and Ion-Exhange Treatment Cost 

Site closure reached in less than half the projected time and cost

CL-Out® bioremediation was implemented at a confidential manufacturing site to remediate nitrate and perchlorate concentrations in soil and ground water.  The consultant installed a pump and treatment system that was operated for several years in immediate response to the discovery of contamination. While perchlorate was  the primary contaminant,  the ion-exchange resin became quickly saturated with nitrate, which was present at much higher concentrations than the perchlorate.  After reviewof various options andcompletion ofabench-scale test, the consultant implemented in situ CL-Out bioremediation to reduce the on-going cost of ground water extraction and treatment.

One of the key factors in CL-Out® cometabolism of perchlorate at this site was that CL-Out® organisms were able to reduce sequentially the oxygen and nitrate prior to perchlorate. The initial nitrate concentrations were  much higher than the perchlorate concentrations and pre-maturely saturated the ion-exchange resin. The perchlorate concentration did not decrease until the nitrate concentration decreased to less than the perchlorate concentration. One of the benefits of the CL-Out® organisms was this ability to utilize these different electron acceptors.

The initial application of CL-Out to the soil reduced the perchlorate source concentration.  After eight months of ground water bioremediation, the perchlorate concentration in the unconsolidated aquifer decreased from 128 mg/L to 3.4 mg/L immediately down gradient of the source area and from 220 mg/L to 39 mg/L farther down gradient.

Simultaneously, the CL-Out® microbes also removed the nitrate. Down gradient of the source area the nitrate concentration decreased from 105 mg/L to <1.0 mg/L.  Farther down gradient the nitrate concentration decreased from 200 mg/L to 5 mg/L.

The in situ nitrate and perchlorate bioremediation provided immediate risk reduction and mitigated potential off-site migration. The bioremediation contaminant levels to the remediation target in 3 years.  Bioremediation saved 5 years of projected treatment time and millions of dollars in OM & M costs.  The owner sold the property without environmental impairment upon completion of bioremediation.

Project Consultant Received Green Leadership Award

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection awarded Irwin Engineering of Natick, Massachusetts the 2016 Greener Cleanup Leadership Award for the innovative in situ bioremediation of perchorate contamination of soil and ground water at the Concord Road Site in Billerica, Massachusetts. The award honors LSPs and their clients for promoting greener cleanup principles and practices to reduce the overall net environmental footprint of hazardous waste site cleanup response actions under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan.

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