Both laboratory experiments and numerical modelling were conducted to study the biodegradation and transport of benzene-toluene-xylenes (BTX) in a simulated semi-confined aquifer. The factors incorporated into the numerical model include advection, hydrodynamic dispersion, adsorption, and biodegradation. The various physico-chemical parameters required by the numerical model were measured experimentally. In the experimental portion of the study, BTX compounds were introduced into the aquifer sand. After the contaminants had been transported through the system, BTX concentrations were measured at 12 equally spaced wells. Subsequently, microorganisms obtained from the activated sludge of a sewage treatment plant and cultured in BTX mixtures were introduced into the aquifer through the 12 sampling wells. The distribution data for BTX adsorption by the aquifer sand form a nonlinear isotherm. The degree of adsorption by the sand varies, depending on the composition of the solute. The degradation time, measured from the time since the bacteria were added to the aquifer until a specific contaminant was no longer detectable, was 35-42 h for BTX. The dissolved oxygen, after degradation by BTX compounds and bacteria, was consumed by about 40-60% in the entire simulated aquifer; thus the aerobic conditions were maintained. This study provides insights for the biodegradation and transport of BTX in aquifers by numerical modelling and laboratory experiments. Experimental and numerical comparisons indicate that the results by Monod degradation kinetics are more accurate than those by the first-order degradation kinetics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology