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University of Washington

Superfund Research Program

Bioremediation of Chlorinated Solvent Compounds: In Situ Remediation Strategies and Predictive Tools for Controlling Contaminated Plumes

Project Leader: John Ferguson
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

Contamination at numerous Superfund sites threatens existing or potential sources of drinking water and surface waters. This project is investigating bioremediation of chlorinated aliphatic contaminants at hazardous waste sites, and particular emphasis is being placed on applying these practices to polluted aquifers. Basic microbial processes, such as reductive dechlorination of chloroethenes and anaerobic and aerobic oxidation of less chlorinated ethenes, are not understood sufficiently to accurately predict the extent and rate of these processes at specific sites. Researchers are determining the conditions under which various bioremediation activities can occur and developing methods to measure the rates of these reactions. The studies include applications of molecular techniques for characterization of enrichments and of aquifer microbial communities, and laboratory studies to develop basic understanding of the microbial processes, their rates and possible biostimulation. Investigators are applying the results to development of modeling tools that will improve predictions of natural attenuation and identify effective biostimulation practices.

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