Bioturbation Delays Attenuation of DDT by Clean Sediment Cap but Promotes Sequestration by Thin-Layered Activated Carbon

The effects of bioturbation on the performance of attenuation by sediment deposition and activated carbon to reduce risks from DDT-contaminated sediment were assessed for DDT sediment-water flux, biouptake, and passive sampler (PE) uptake in microcosm experiments with a freshwater worm, <i>Lumbriculus variegatus</i>. A thin-layer of clean sediment (0.5 cm) did not reduce the DDT flux when bioturbation was present, while a thin (0.3 cm) AC cap was still capable of reducing the DDT flux by 94%. Bioturbation promoted AC sequestration by reducing the 28-day DDT biouptake (66%) and DDT uptake into PE (>99%) compared to controls. Bioturbation further promoted AC-sediment contact by mixing AC particles into underlying sediment layers, reducing PE uptake (55%) in sediment compared to the AC cap without bioturbation. To account for the observed effects from bioturbation, a mass transfer model together with a biodynamic model were developed to simulate DDT flux and biouptake, respectively, and models confirmed experimental results. Both experimental measurements and modeling predictions imply that thin-layer activated carbon placement on sediment is effective in reducing the risks from contaminated sediments in the presence of bioturbation, while natural attenuation process by clean sediment deposition may be delayed by bioturbation.