Degradation of toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene using heat and chelated-ferrous iron activated persulfate oxidation

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Pulin Mondal and Brent Sleep, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Toluene, ethylbenze, and xylene (TEX) are common contaminants in the subsurface. Activated persulfate has shown promise for degrading a wide variety of organic compounds. However, studies of persulfate application for in situ degradation of TEX and effects on the subsequent bioremediation are limited. In this work, degradation studies of TEX in aqueous media and soil are being conducted using heat activated and chelated-ferrous iron activated persulfate oxidation in batch and flow-through column experiments. In the batch experiments, sodium persulfate is being used at different concentrations to provide an initial persulfate to TEX molar ratios between 10:1 and 100:1. Sodium persulfate solutions are being activated at 20, 37, 60, and 80 oC temperatures for the heat activated oxidation. For the chelated-ferrous iron activated oxidation, ferrous iron and citric acid, both are being used at concentration of 5 mM. In the experiments with soil slurry, a soil to water ratio of 1 to 5 is being used.

Flow through water saturated column experiments are being conducted with glass columns (45 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter) uniformly packed with soils, and equilibrated with water containing TEX at the target concentrations. Both the heat activation and chelated-ferrous iron activation of persulfate are being employed in the column experiments. Future experiments are planned to determine the suitability of persulfate oxidation of TEX on the subsequent biodegradation using batch microcosms containing TEX degrading microbial cultures. In these experiments, the microbial biomass will be monitored using total phospholipids, and the microbial community will be determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on the extracted DNA. This study is expected to provide suitable operating conditions for in situ chemical oxidation of TEX with activated persulfate followed by bioremediation.