In Situ Bioremediation

When does it work?

Committee on In Situ Bioremediation

Water Science and Technology Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1993



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In Situ Bioremediation When does it work? Committee on In Situ Bioremediation Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1993

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National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Agreement No. CR 820730-01-0, the National Science Foundation under Agreement No. BCS-9213271, the Electric Power Research Institute under Agreement No. RP2879-26, the Gas Research Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, Chevron USA, Inc., and the Mobil Oil Corporation. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data In situ bioremediation / Water Science and Technology Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-04896-6 1. In situ bioremediation—Evaluation. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Water Science and Technology Board. TD192.5.153 1993 93-5531 628.5'2—dc20 CIP Copyright 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. B-184 Cover art by Y. David Chung. Title design by Rumen Buzatov. Chung and Buzatov are graduates of the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. Chung has exhibited widely throughout the country, including at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In brilliant colors, the cover art shows the amazing variety of unusual shapes found in bacterial life forms. Printed in the United States of America First Printing, October 1993 Second Printing, December 1994

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COMMITTEE ON IN SITU BIOREMEDIATION BRUCE E. RITTMANN, Chair, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois LISA ALVAREZ-COHEN, University of California, Berkeley PHILIP B. BEDIENT, Rice University, Houston, Texas RICHARD A. BROWN, Groundwater Technology, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey FRANCIS H. CHAPELLE, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, South Carolina PETER K. KITANIDIS, Stanford University, Stanford, California EUGENE L. MADSEN, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York WILLIAM R. MAHAFFEY, ECOVA Corporation, Redmond, Washington ROBERT D. NORRIS, Eckenfelder, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee JOSEPH P. SALANITRO, Shell Development Company, Houston, Texas JOHN M. SHAUVER, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, Michigan JAMES M. TIEDJE, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan JOHN T. WILSON, Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory, Ada, Oklahoma RALPH S. WOLFE, University of Illinois, Urbana Staff JACQUELINE A. MACDONALD, Study Director GREGORY K. NYCE, Senior Project Assistant GREICY AMJADIVALA, Project Assistant WYETHA TURNEY, Word Processor KENNETH M. REESE, Editorial Consultant BARBARA A. BODLING, Editorial Consultant

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WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD DANIEL A. OKUN, Chair, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill A. DAN TARLOCK, Vice Chair, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois J. DAN ALLEN, Chevron USA, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana KENNETH D. FREDERICK, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. DAVID L. FREYBERG, Stanford University, Stanford, California WILFORD R. GARDNER, University of California, Berkeley DUANE L. GEORGESON, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles LYNN R. GOLDMAN, California Department of Health Services, Emeryville WILLIAM L. GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe THOMAS M. HELLMAN, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, New York, New York ROBERT J. HUGGETT, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia CHARLES C. JOHNSON, Consultant, Bethesda, Maryland JUDY L. MEYER, University of Georgia, Athens STAVROS S. PAPADOPULOS, S. S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin-Madison BRUCE E. RITTMANN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois PHILIP C. SINGER, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill JOY B. ZEDLER, San Diego State University, San Diego, California Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director SARAH CONNICK, Senior Staff Officer SHEILA D. DAVID, Senior Staff Officer CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer GARY D. KRAUSS, Staff Officer JACQUELINE A. MACDONALD, Staff Officer JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant PATRICIA L. CICERO, Senior Project Assistant GREGORY K. NYCE, Senior Project Assistant

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COMMISSION ON ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SYSTEMS ALBERT R. C. WESTWOOD, Chair, Martin Marietta Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland NANCY CONNERY, Woolwich, Maine RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation, South Charleston, West Virginia GERARD W. ELVERUM, JR., TRW Space & Technology Group, Banning, California E. R. (VALD) HEIBERG III, J. A. Jones Construction Services Company, Charlotte, North Carolina WILLIAM G. HOWARD, JR., Scottsdale, Arizona JOHN McCARTHY, Stanford University, Stanford, California ALTON D. SLAY, Slay Enterprises, Inc., Warrenton, Virginia JAMES J. SOLBERG, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana CHARLES F. TIFFANY, Boeing Military Airplane Company, Yuma, Arizona (Retired) JOHN A. TILLINGHAST, TILTEC, Portsmouth, New Hampshire PAUL TORGERSEN, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg GEORGE L. TURIN, Teknekron Corporation, Menlo Park, California JOHN B. WACHTMAN, JR., Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey BRIAN J. WATT, Joy Technologies, Inc., Houston, Texas WILLIAM C. WEBSTER, University of California, Berkeley ROBERT V. WHITMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Staff ARCHIE L. WOOD, Executive Director MARLENE BEAUDIN, Associate Executive Director MARY FRANCES LEE, Director of Operations ROBERT KATT, Associate Director for Quality Management LYNN KASPER, Assistant Editor TEREE DITTMAR, Administrative Assistant SYLVIA GILBERT, Administrative Assistant

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Preface Bioremediation is a technology that is gaining momentum in technical, policy, and popular circles. It also is a technology associated with mystery, controversy, and "snake oil salesmen." When a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested in the fall of 1991 that the Water Science and Technology Board conduct a study on bioremediation, it converged with the board's internal initiative to "do something" in the area. Several high-quality workshops and conferences had occurred in the previous year that generated publications describing what is needed for bioremediation to fulfill its potential. The board needed to design a study that would do more than repeat what was already available, that would be completed in a time frame commensurate with the urgent needs of those involved in bioremediation, and that would meet the high standards expected of the National Academy of Sciences. These criteria inevitably led to the subject of this report and to a unique format for conducting the study. The study's subject—"In Situ Bioremediation: When Does It Work?"—narrows the focus to two critical facets of bioremediation. First, it addresses the use of microorganisms to remove contamination from ground water and soils that remain in place (i.e., in situ) during the cleanup. This focus distinguishes in situ bioremediation of the subsurface from significantly different applications of bioremediation, such as to treat oil tanker spills, wastewaters, or sludges. Second, the

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primary object of the study is to provide guidance on how to evaluate when an in situ bioremediation process is working or has worked. This focus is most important because the in situ environment is highly complex and very difficult to observe. Therefore, tools from several scientific and engineering disciplines must be used in a sophisticated manner if the success of a bioremediation effort is to be evaluated. Guidance is acutely needed today because most people faced with making decisions about bioremediation projects do not have the interdisciplinary knowledge to integrate all of the necessary tools. The format for this study was unique and designed to meet two criteria: meaningful interdisciplinary interchange and timeliness. To gain interchange, a committee of 14 was carefully chosen to include recognized leaders in academic research, field practice, regulation, and industry. A balance was achieved between those involved in research fundamentals and those involved in the practical aspects of application, as well as between scientists and engineers. Once the committee of interdisciplinary experts was assembled, meaningful interchange was fostered by an intensive week-long workshop at the National Research Council. The goals were to maximize opportunities for formal and informal interchange among the committee members and to build a common purpose. Both goals were achieved, directly leading to a consensus about the issues and what were to be the committee's recommendations. Timeliness was a prime consideration in designing the study's format. In order to accelerate interdisciplinary communications, nine committee members prepared seven background papers in advance of the week-long workshop. At the workshop, the committee initially generated its own discussion topics and then systematically discussed them. Key to timeliness and keeping the committee "on target" was preparation of a draft report during the workshop. Near the end of the workshop, the committee reviewed the draft report, which refocused the entire group on exactly what it wanted to say. Appearing first in this volume is the committee's report, which describes the principles and practices of in situ bioremediation and provides practical guidelines for evaluating success. The report's guidelines should be immediately useful to regulators, practitioners, and buyers who are involved in decision-making processes involving bioremediation. We envision that the report will provide a commonly accepted basis for which all parties can agree to specific evaluation protocols. Also included here are the seven background papers. These papers will give the reader added insight into the different perspectives that were brought to the committee. The entire report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors, but only the committee

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report was subjected to the report review criteria established by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The background papers have been reviewed for factual correctness. Special acknowledgment must go to several individuals who contributed to the committee's overall effort in special ways. First, Dick Brown and Jim Tiedje joined me on the executive committee, which had the all-important tasks of identifying and recruiting committee members and which also oversaw the committee's management. Second, Eugene Madsen, the committee's rapporteur, wrote the first draft of the report during the workshop and prepared an excellent second draft after the workshop. Eugene did these crucial and grueling tasks with skill and good humor. Finally, Jackie MacDonald, staff officer for the committee, made this unique effort possible. She efficiently arranged all the logistics for the workshop and for publishing the book. Even more importantly, she used her exceptional technical and editorial skills to ensure that the report and the background papers are logical, correct, understandable, and interesting to read. The committee members owe Jackie a debt of gratitude for making us sound more intelligent and better organized than we might actually be. Finally, I want to mention two possible spin-off benefits of the study and report. First, most of the principles and guidelines described here also apply to evaluating bioremediation that does not occur in situ. Although the inherent difficulties of working in an in situ environment make evaluation especially challenging, other bioremediation applications also are subject to uncertainties and controversy that can be resolved only with the kind of rational evaluation strategies described here. Second, the format for the workshop might provide a prototype for effective interdisciplinary communications, one of the most critical needs for implementing bioremediation, as well as other technologies. Bruce E. Rittmann, Chair Committee on In Situ Bioremediation

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Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   12 2   PRINCIPLES OF BIOREMEDIATION   16     The Role of Microbes in Bioremediation   17     How Microbes Destroy Contaminants   17     How Microbes Demobilize Contaminants   22     Indicators of Microbial Activity   23     Complicating Factors   25     Contaminants Susceptible to Bioremediation   29     Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Derivatives   32     Halogenated Compounds   33     Nitroaromatics   34     Metals   34     Environments Amenable to Bioremediation   35     Two Types of Bioremediation: Intrinsic and Engineered   35     Site Conditions for Engineered Bioremediation   39     Site Conditions for Intrinsic Bioremediation   41     Impact of Site Heterogeneity on Bioremediation   42     Further Reading   43

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    Boxes         Key Terms for Understanding Bioremediation   19     Intrinsic Bioremediation of a Crude Oil Spill—Bemidji, Minnesota   37     Site Characteristics that Favor In Situ Bioremediation   40 3   THE CURRENT PRACTICE OF BIOREMEDIATION   47     Bioremediation Versus Other Technologies   48     Basics of Bioremediation Process Design   49     Engineered Bioremediation   50     Intrinsic Bioremediation   59     Integration of Bioremediation with Other Technologies   60     Good Practices   61     Box         Standards of Practice for Bioremediation Contractors   62 4   EVALUATING IN SITU BIOREMEDIATION   63     A Three-Part Strategy for ''Proving" In Situ Bioremediation   63     Techniques for Demonstrating Biodegradation in the Field   65     Measurements of Field Samples   65     Experiments Run in the Field   78     Modeling Experiments   80     Limitations Inherent in Evaluating In Situ Bioremediation   88     Boxes         Proving Engineered Bioremediation of Chlorinated Solvents in a Field Test—Moffett Naval Air Station, California   66     Proving Engineered Bioremediation of an Oil and Fuel Spill—Denver, Colorado   71     Testing Bioremediation of PCBs in Hudson River Sediments—New York   77     Proving Intrinsic Bioremediation of a Spill at a Natural Gas Manufacturing Plant—Northern Michigan   86 5   FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR BIOREMEDIATION   91     New Frontiers in Bioremediation   92     The Increasing Importance of Evaluating Bioremediation   93     Recommended Steps in Research   94     Recommended Steps in Education   95

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    BACKGROUND PAPERS   97     A Regulator's Perspective on In Situ Bioremediation John M. Shauver   99     An Industry's Perspective on Intrinsic Bioremediation Joseph P. Salanitro   104     Bioremediation from an Ecological Perspective James M. Tiedje   110     In Situ Bioremediation: The State of the Practice Richard A. Brown, William Mahaffey, and Robert D. Norris   121     Engineering Challenges of Implementing In Situ Bioremediation Lisa Alvarez-Cohen   136     Modeling In Situ Bioremediation Philip B. Bedient and Hanadi S. Rifai   153     Testing Bioremediation in the Field John T. Wilson   160     APPENDIXES   185     A Glossary   187     B Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff   195     INDEX   199

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In Situ Bioremediation When does it work?

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