Development of a biobarrier for the remediation of PCE-contaminated aquifer

C. M. Kao, S. C. Chen, J. K. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The industrial solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is among the most ubiquitous chlorinated compounds found in groundwater contamination. The objective of this study was to develop a biobarrier system, which includes a peat layer to enhance the anaerobic reductive dechlorination of PCE in situ. Peat was used to supply primary substrate (electron donor) continuously. A laboratory-scale column experiment was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of this proposed system or PCE removal. This experiment was performed using a series of continuous-flow glass columns including a soil column, a peat column, followed by two consecutive soil columns. Anaerobic acclimated sludges were inoculated in all three soil columns to provide microbial consortia for PCE biodegradation. Simulated PCE-contaminated groundwater with a flow rate of 0.25 1/day was pumped into this system. Effluent samples from each column were analyzed for PCE and its degradation byproducts (trichloroethylene (TCE), cis-dichloroethylene (cis-DCE), vinyl chloride (VC), ethylene (ETH), and ethane). Results show that the decrease in PCE concentrations and production of PCE byproducts were observed over a 65-day operating period. Up to 98% of PCE removal efficiency was obtained in this passive system. Results indicate that the continuously released organics from peat column enhanced PCE biotransformation. Thus, the developed biobarrier treatment scheme has the potential to be developed into a cost-effective in situ PCE-remediation technology, and can be utilized as an interim step to aid in system scale-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1078
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Biobarrier
  • In situ bioremediation
  • Reductive dechlorination
  • Tetrachloroethylene


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