Factors That Affect the Performance and Cost of Oxygenate Treatment Using In Situ Bioremediation

When oxygenates are present and must be remediated at a site, bioremediation, either alone or in combination with other technologies, may be a suitable remediation approach. Although both ether-and alcohol-based oxygenates are susceptible to biodegradation, the site conditions will determine whether bioremediation is an appropriate technology for a given site Key factors that affect the performance and cost of bioremediation include171

1. Concentration, mass, and distribution of VOCs in the soil and groundwater

2. Geology

3. Moisture content

4. Mineral content

6. Temperature

7. Concentrations of terminal electron receptors and nutrients

8. Presence of appropriate microbes in the subsurface

9. Cleanup goals

10. Requirements for site cleanup.

These factors affect the design of the bioremediation system, the biodegradation pathways that can be employed, and the amendments that must be added to enhance bioremediation.34,40

Bioremediation is generally considered to be more suitable for the dissolved phase in ground-water plumes or low concentrations in soil rather than grossly contaminated source areas where free product may be present. Other technologies that incorporate free product removal, such as MPE and pump-and-treat, are generally considered more applicable to source areas. Therefore, source areas are typically treated through removal or another technology prior to the application of bioremediation. Because of the above factors, the design of a bioremediation system is typically based on significant site analysis and bench- and pilot-scale testing rather than the application of packaged treatment systems.

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