Continuous-flow column study of reductive dehalogenation of PCE upon bioaugmentation with the Evanite enrichment culture
A continuous-flow anaerobic column experiment was conducted to evaluate the reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene (PCE) in Hanford aquifer material after bioaugmentation with the Evanite (EV) culture. An influent PCE concentration of 0.09 mM was transformed to vinyl chloride (VC) and ethene (ETH) within a hydraulic residence time of 1.3 days. The experimental breakthrough curves were described by the one-dimensional two-site-nonequilibrium transport model. PCE dechlorination was observed after bioaugmentation and after the lactate concentration was increased from 0.35 to 0.67 mM. At the onset of reductive dehalogenation, cis-dichloroethene (c-DCE) concentrations in the column effluent exceeded the influent PCE concentration indicating enhanced PCE desorption and transformation. When the lactate concentration was increased to 1.34 mM, c-DCE reduction to vinyl chloride (VC) and ethene (ETH) occurred. Spatial rates of PCE and VC transformation were determined in batch-incubated microcosms constructed with aquifer samples obtained from the column. PCE transformation rates were highest in the first 5 cm from the column inlet and decreased towards the column effluent. Dehalococcoides cell numbers dropped from ∼ 73.5% of the total Bacterial population in the original inocula, to about 0.5% to 4% throughout the column. The results were consistent with estimates of electron donor utilization, with 4% going towards dehalogenation reactions.