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[en] Enhanced reductive dehalogenation is an attractive treatment technology for in situ remediation of chlorinated solvent DNAPL source areas. Reductive dehalogenation is an acid-forming process with hydrochloric acid and also organic acids from fermentation of the electron donors typically building up in the source zone during remediation. This can lead to groundwater acidification thereby inhibiting the activity of dehalogenating microorganisms. Where the soils' natural buffering capacity is likely to be exceeded, the addition of an external source of alkalinity is needed to ensure sustained dehalogenation. To assist in the design of bioremediation systems, an abiotic geochemical model was developed to provide insight into the processes influencing the groundwater acidity as dehalogenation proceeds, and to predict the amount of bicarbonate required to maintain the pH at a suitable level for dehalogenating bacteria (i.e., > 6.5). The model accounts for the amount of chlorinated solvent degraded, site water chemistry, electron donor, alternative terminal electron-accepting processes, gas release and soil mineralogy. While calcite and iron oxides were shown to be the key minerals influencing the soil's buffering capacity, for the extensive dehalogenation likely to occur in a DNAPL source zone, significant bicarbonate addition may be necessary even in soils that are naturally well buffered. Results indicated that the bicarbonate requirement strongly depends on the electron donor used and availability of competing electron acceptors (e.g., sulfate, iron (III)). Based on understanding gained from this model, a simplified model was developed for calculating a preliminary design estimate of the bicarbonate addition required to control the pH for user-specified operating conditions.
[en] Research highlights: → Adsorption behaviour of shallow oxidized sediments from Matlab Region in SE Bangladesh is investigated. → Oxidized sediments have a high capacity to adsorb arsenic. → Adsorption capacity will be reduced by high concentration of reactive organic C. → Monitoring of groundwater quality over 5 year period shows relatively stable water chemistry. - Abstract: Targeting shallow low-As aquifers based on sediment colour may be a viable solution for supplying As-safe drinking water to rural communities in some regions of Bangladesh and West Bengal in India. The sustainability of this solution with regard to the long-term risk of As-safe oxidized aquifers becoming enriched with As needs to be assessed. This study focuses on the adsorption behaviour of shallow oxidized sediments from Matlab Region, Bangladesh, and their capacity to attenuate As if cross-contamination of the oxidized aquifers occurs. Water quality analyses of samples collected from 20 tube-wells in the region indicate that while there may be some seasonal variability, the groundwater chemistry in the reduced and oxidized aquifers was relatively stable from 2004 to 2009. Although sediment extractions indicate a relatively low amount of As in the oxidized sediments, below 2.5 mg kg-1, batch isotherm experiments show that the sediments have a high capacity to adsorb As. Simulations using a surface complexation model that considers adsorption to amorphous Fe(III) oxide minerals only, under-predict the experimental isotherms. This suggests that a large proportion of the adsorption sites in the oxidized sediments may be associated with crystalline Fe(III) oxides, Mn(IV) and Al(III) oxides, and clay minerals. Replicate breakthrough column experiments conducted with lactose added to the influent solution demonstrate that the high adsorption capacity of the oxidized sediments may be reduced if water drawn down into the oxidized aquifers contains high levels of electron donors such as reactive dissolved organic C.