CL-Out Bioremediation of Groundwater in Clay Soils

CL-Out bioremediation of groundwater in clay soils reduced concentrations of PCE and TCE at a former dry cleaners in Illinois.  In just over 2 weeks after injection, CL-Out microbes cut the contaminant concentrations in half.

  • PCE from 62.2 to 25.6 mg/L
  • TCE from 11.2 to 6.0 mg/L
  • Cis 1,2-DCE from 3.8 to 1.2 mg/L
  • Vinyl chloride less than 0.001 mg/L before and after treatment

The remediation continues as the microbes grow and cometabolize the residual contamination.  Even in tight clay soils the aerobic cometabolism remediates dry cleaning solvents without producing vinyl chloride or other dangerous by products.

PCE Bioremediation in Aerobic Groundwater

PCE bioremediation in aerobic groundwater by CL-Out microbes reduced environmental risk at a printing company in Kentucky.  Testing found high concentrations of PCE in perched ground-water.  The ground water aquifer was in sn alluvial sand deposit with high permeability.  The high permeability facilitated injection for in situ treatment.  Also, the high permeability of the aquifer matrix also supported aerobic ground water conditions.  With one application of CL-Out the concentration of PCE decreased from 3,600 ug/L to 250 ug/L in less than 45 days.  With further applications the concentration was reduced to below detection limits in 10 months.

Aerobic PCE Bioremediation By Cometabolism

CL-Out is a consortium selected for aerobic PCE bioremediation.  CL-Out cometabolizes PCE by growing on a simple sugar and producing a metabolic enzyme to degrade PCE.  The microbes produce a dioxygenase enzyme that breaks the carbon bond in PCE.  This reaction eliminates the biproducts of reductive dechlorination.  Also, the synergistic effect of the CL-Out consortium cometabolizes the full suite of chloroethenes and chloroethanes.

Click here for more information about CL-Out bioremediation.

CL-Out Pilot Study Vandenberg AFB – successful aerobic cometabolism

A pilot study of the applicability of CL-Out aerobic cometabolism of PCE and other chlorinated solvents was completed at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  The pilot study consisted of injection in a single well and groundwater sampling at four surrounding wells to monitor the progress of bioremediation.  During the pilot study, samples were analyzed for the contaminants and breakdown products, microbial population, and dissolved oxygen.

After three months, sampling showed the following contaminant removal near the injection well:

PCE reduced from 44 to 2.6 ug/L.

TCE reduced from 330 to 57.3 ug/L.

Cis 1,2-DCE reduced from 30.7 to 6.2 ug/L.

Vinyl chloride was not detected before or after treatment.

The ground water stayed aerobic during the 90 day pilot study.  The CL-Out population reached a maximum of 9 million cells per milliliters 14 days after injection.  The  CL-Out population was maintained above background populations for at least 60 days and reached as far as 50 feet down gradient.

For more information about the pilot study results, contact CL Solutions.

Case Study of In-Situ Bioremediation of Recalcitrant Organics

A history of spills and/or releases at two adjacent dry cleaning facilities near Houston, TX, resulted in significant soil and shallow groundwater contamination with PCE and daughter products. Soil was relatively permeable, with rapid groundwater flow beneath the site. A long, narrow, off-site plume extended beneath a residential neighborhood. Chemical oxidation was employed initially with only limited success in the areas of highest contamination. To take advantage of the soil permeability and other site conditions, the response action was amended to include enhanced aerobic bioremediation by cometabolism. Specialty microbes were introduced into the plume in several injections over a 15-month period. This approach achieved total contaminant level reductions in the source area from 1,600 to less than 40 µg/L, and at the front edge of the plume, levels decreased from 500 to 5 µg/L.

For the full case study click here:

Brusenhan, J.D., M.F. Marcon, and M.T. Saul, CL-Solutions, LLC. A&WMA’s 98th Annual Conference and Exhibition, 21-24 June 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Paper 1069, 10 pp, 2005

Dry Cleaner Bioremediation and Brownfield Redevelopment

Site Description

Dry cleaning solvent spills in a storage area lead to the contamination of soil and ground water on the property of a 50-year-old dry cleaners in the middle of a hot brownfield redevelopment.   After the contaminated soil was excavated for off site disposal to the most practical extent, residual perched ground water contamination impacted the redevelopment of the property.

The soil excavation was used as an infiltration gallery as part of a recirculating ground water recovery and treatment system.  The flushing reduced contaminant concentrations, but the levels were still far above the levels required to achieve no further action status.  CL-Out was added to the recirculating ground water and the cleanup goals were achieved in less than two years and were maintained through two years of  post treatment monitoring.

Site Characteristics

Geology and Hydrogeology

The site is on a fluvial terrace adjacent to the Ohio River.  The shallow soils are clayey silts to sit to eight feet deep.  An interbedded sandy zone that formed the first water-bearing zone was encountered from 8 to 12 feet deep.  Perched ground water occurred in the sandy zone at 12 feet below grade.

Ground Water Contamination

 The size of ground water plume that resulted from the spills was estimated to be 3,500 square feet.    The ground water contamination was mainly PCE with a maximum concentration of 11,000 ug/l prior to soil removal or ground water treatment.  The daughter compounds TCE and DCE were detected up to 17 and 12 ug/l respectively.  After three years of recirculation and flushing, the maximum PCE concentration was reduced to 2.3 ug/l and the daughter compounds were below detection limits.


CL-Out bioaugmentation was implemented to supplement the flushing system.  By adding CL-Out on two occasions over two years, the contaminant concentrations were reduced to below drinking water standards.  During two years of post treatment monitoring the DCE concentrations rebounded to above the MCLs.  CL-Out bioaugmentation was implemented again and within three months the contaminant levels were below drinking water standards and remained below drinking water standards for nine months.  After post closure monitoring verified the cleanup goals would be maintained, the KDEP issued a “No Further Action” letter for the site.

The following chart shows the PCE contaminant trend in one of the key monitoring wells during the remediation and post closure monitoring.


The CL-Out cost during this remediation project was less than $10,000.