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University of Arizona

Superfund Research Program

Bioavailability, Soil Heterogeneity, and In-Situ Biodegradation of Organic Contaminants

Project Leader: Mark L. Brusseau
Grant Number: P42ES004940
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000
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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The goal of this project is to enhance understanding of how bioavailability controls biodegradation of organic contaminants during transport in subsurface systems. Researchers have developed a novel approach to characterization of the physical, chemical, and microbiological properties of the soil contained in the columns used to measure contaminant transport. This approach combines flow and transport characterization techniques with sorption measurements and advanced techniques for determining the nature and quantity of bacterial populations. The results of this research are addressing the question of how structured and heterogeneous soil, coupled with kinetically controlled mass-transfer processes, influences the magnitude and rate of biodegradation in subsurface systems. This research is providing information useful for identifying the conditions under which in-situ bioremediation is successful, and for the manipulation of subsurface systems to enhance the effectiveness of this technology.

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