Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
DOE/Savannah River National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have patented a consortium of microbes that have an appetite for chlorinated volatile organic compounds, similar to dry-cleaning fluid.

Savannah River National Laboratory personnel take readings at the site of the demonstration of MicroCED microbial consortium for natural cleanup of chlorinated solvents.
Credit: Savannah River National Laboratory

Using funding provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory has launched a demonstration project near one of the Savannah River Site's former production reactor sites to clean up chemically contaminated groundwater, naturally.

A portion of the subsurface at the Site's P Area has become contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds that are essentially like dry-cleaning fluid. SRNL and Clemson University have patented a consortium of microbes that have an appetite for that kind of material.

"If they are as effective as we expect in cleaning up the chemical contamination in the groundwater, it will be far cheaper than energy-intensive types of cleanup, such as pump-and-treat techniques or soil heating," said Mark Amidon, SRNL's project manager for the demonstration.

The mixture of microbes was found occurring naturally at SRS, where they were feeding on the same kind of chemical that was in groundwater seeping into an SRS creek. SRNL and Clemson University worked together on the discovery and characterization of the microbes. The mixture is called MicroCED, for "microbiological-based chlorinated ethene destruction," and when injected into the subsurface can completely transform lethal chlorinated ethenes to safe, nontoxic end products.

In P Area, the first step was to make groundwater conditions better for the microbes. "In late summer we injected more than 5,000 gallons of emulsified soybean oil, buffering agents and amendments and 108,000 gallons of water to get the dissolved oxygen and acidity right," Amidon said. "Once the conditions were right, we started injecting the store of microbes we've been culturing." An initial application of 18 gallons of the microbes was recently injected to get things started. By the end of the demonstration, approximately 1,500 gallons of the microbes could be injected into the demonstration site.

Amidon estimated that it would take a year or more to see appreciable results. "You can't rush Mother Nature." The current test site is about 100 by 120 feet at the surface and 85 to 100 feet below ground, and will be used to determine whether this approach should be used for full-scale treatment of the area. "If we were to go full-scale, there would be a 'biowall' about 1,000 feet long and between 50 and 145 feet below ground," Amidon said.

SRNL has been working in bioremediation for many years, using existing microorganisms as part of the strategy. The difference here is the culturing and injection of quantities of a specific mixture of microbes for use on chlorinated solvents. (Another SRNL invention, BioTiger™, is a consortium of microbes used on petroleum contamination.)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Savannah River National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

DOE/Savannah River National Laboratory. "Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133001.htm>.
DOE/Savannah River National Laboratory. (2011, February 1). Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133001.htm
DOE/Savannah River National Laboratory. "Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133001.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins