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Stratum Engineering, Inc.

Superfund Research Program

A Novel Permeable Barrier for Groundwater Bioremediation

Project Leader: Fatemeh Shirazi (Microvi Biotechnologies, Inc.)
Grant Number: R43ES011880
Funding Period: Phase I: 2002-2005
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To date, the most common approaches for large-scale in situ biotreatment of contaminated groundwater have been by biostimulation or bioaugmentation processes. Biostimulation relies on external factors to encourage the growth of indigenous microbes. Bioaugmentation relies on the addition of microbes to enhance biodegradation of organic contaminant in groundwater. Experience has found that both of these methods have major disadvantages that limit the potential of these remediation technologies.

Stratum proposes to overcome these disadvantages by using an innovative and cost effective technology called Biological Permeable Barrier, or BPB technology (U.S. Patent No. 09/432,092). This technology uses acclimated microorganisms, encapsulated within a unique polymetric matrix, to degrade contaminants. BPB offers many advantages over today's more commonly used in situ bioremediation treatments, such as protection of viable cells from shock contaminant loads and environmental stresses, increased bacterial mass per unit volume, and a semi-passive treatment. BPB also has the potential for design to co-treat several organic compounds.

This project aims to demonstrate BPB technology to biodegrade TCE, perchlorate, and a mixture of the two non-toxic end-products under field operating conditions. Following appropriate treatability studies in the laboratory, a field pilot study will be designed and installed in the groundwater contaminated zone at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Karnack, Texas to demonstrate its effectiveness to biodegrade TCE and perchlorate contaminants.

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