Long term impacts of CMC/nZVI amendment injection on organohalide-respiring microbial communities at a chlorinated solvent field site

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Chris M Kocur1, Line Lomheim2, Hardiljeet K Boparai1, Ahmed I Chowdhury1, Kela Weber1, Leanne Murdie Austrins3, Brent Sleep2, Denis M O'Carroll1 and Elizabeth Edwards2, (1)Western University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, London, ON, Canada, (2)University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, (3)CH2M HILL, Komoka, ON, Canada
Injection of carboxymethyl-cellulose stabilized nanoscale Zero Valent Iron (CMC/nZVI) has received significant attention in the last decade as an emerging alternative for in-situ remediation of chlorinated solvents and other recalcitrant compounds. There has also been some indication that injection of nZVI will create conditions that will stimulate in-situ microbial populations, leading to further contaminant degradation. Carboxy-methyl cellulose (CMC) is commonly used for nZVI synthesis as it provides steric stabilization for the nanoparticles, however, the CMC is equally important as a subsurface amendment as it may act as a fermentable substrate for microorganisms in-situ. In this study, microbial communities were monitored over a 2.5 year period following the injection of CMC/nZVI at a chlorinated solvent remediation site. Dehalococcoides spp. genetic markers and vinyl chloride reductase genes (vcrA) were targeted in the 16s RNA using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). This analysis was complimented with a suite of aqueous chlorinated ethene, ethane, and methane compounds to monitor degradation. Following the injection of CMC/nZVI a decline of parent chlorinated compound concentrations was observed as well as the emergence of daughter products. A period of abiotic nZVI oxidation is believed to be responsible for a portion of the degradation at the site, however, a prolonged period of contaminant degradation followed and is believed to be the result of organohalide-respiring microorganisms native to the site. Further analysis was performed on the microbial samples using 454 pyrotag sequencing of amplified 16S rRNA genes to obtain the genetic profile of the microbial community. Of particular interest within this large genomic profile is the characterization of the stable population of important organohalide-respiring microorganisms on site. Results suggest that there is a distinctly different response in the organohalide-respiring microbial community in areas of the site where CMC/nZVI amendments were injected compared to a background response.