A plume of contaminated groundwater originating from an abandoned disposal pit for wood‐creosoting waste was characterized. The important organic contaminants in the plume include naphthalene, 1‐methylnaphthalene, 2‐methylnaphthalene, dibenzofuran and fluorene at individual concentrations of 1,000 to 100 μg/L. Core material from the site was studied to determine if organisms in the subsurface could adapt to this waste and if biological activity influenced the disposition of the plume. Biodegradation of these organic pollutants in subsurface material from the margin of the plume was rapid. No biodegradation of the pollutants was detected in pristine subsurface material from the same geological structure. As a result of this adaptation, the disposition of the plume was not controlled by the rate of utilization of the pollutants by the microorganisms but by the extent of utilization allowed by the supply of oxygen.
Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1985
Keywords: ; ; ;
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