Subgrade biogeochemical reactors (SBGRs), also commonly referred to as in situ bioreactors, are a unique technology for treatment of contaminant source areas and groundwater plume hot spots. SBGRs have most commonly been configured for enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD) applications for chlorinated solvent treatment. However, they have also been designed for other contaminant classes using alternative treatment media. The SBGR technology typically consists of removal of contaminated soil via excavation or large-diameter augers, and backfill of the soil void with gravel and treatment amendments tailored to the target contaminant(s). In most cases SBGRs include installation of infiltration piping and a low-flow pumping system (typically solar-powered) to recirculate contaminated groundwater through the SBGR for treatment. SBGRs have been constructed in multiple configurations, including designs capable of meeting limited access restrictions at heavily industrialized sites, and at sites with restrictions on surface disturbance due to sensitive species or habitat issues.Typical performance results for ERD applications include 85 to 90 percent total molar reduction of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) near the SBGR and rapid clean-up of adjacent dissolved contaminant source areas. Based on a review of the literature and CH2M's field-scale results from over a dozen SBGRs with a least one year of performance data, important site-specific design considerations include: 1) hydraulic residence time should be long enough for sufficient treatment but not too long to create depressed pH and stagnant conditions (e.g., typically between 10 and 60 days), 2) reactor material should balance appropriate organic mulch as optimal bacterial growth media along with other organic additives that provide bioavailable organic carbon, 3) a variety of native bacteria are important to the treatment process, and 4) biologically mediated generation of iron sulfides along with addition of iron pyrite sands as an abiotic polishing step within the reactor has been observed to be an efficient treatment train for chlorinated solvent sites.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 15, 2017
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