American Chemical Society
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Feedbacks Between Hydrological Heterogeneity and Bioremediation Induced Biogeochemical Transformations

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journal contribution
posted on 2009-07-15, 00:00 authored by A. Englert, S. S. Hubbard, K. H. Williams, L. Li, C. I. Steefel
For guiding optimal design and interpretation of in situ treatments that strongly perturb subsurface systems, knowledge about the spatial and temporal patterns of mass transport and reaction intensities are important. Here, a procedure was developed and applied to time-lapse concentrations of a conservative tracer (bromide), an injected amendment (acetate) and reactive species (iron(II), uranium(VI) and sulfate) associated with two field scale biostimulation experiments, which were conducted successively at the same field location over two years. The procedure is based on a temporal moment analysis approach that relies on a streamtube approximation. The study shows that biostimulated reactions can be considerably influenced by subsurface hydrological and geochemical heterogeneities: the delivery of bromide and acetate and the intensity of the sulfate reduction is interpreted to be predominantly driven by the hydrological heterogeneity, while the intensity of the iron reduction is interpreted to be primarily controlled by the geochemical heterogeneity. The intensity of the uranium(VI) reduction appears to be impacted by both the hydrological and geochemical heterogeneity. Finally, the study documents the existence of feedbacks between hydrological heterogeneity and remediation-induced biogeochemical transformations at the field scale, particularly the development of precipitates that may cause clogging and flow rerouting.