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Biodegradation of disinfection byproducts as a potential removal process during aquifer storage recovery

January 1, 2000

The biodegradation potential of two drinking water disinfection byproducts was investigated using aquifer materials obtained from approximately 100 and 200 meters below land surface in an aerobic aquifer system undergoing aquifer storage recovery of treated surface water. No significant biodegradation of a model trihalomethane compound, chloroform, was observed in aquifer microcosms under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. In contrast, between 16 and 27 percent mineralization of a radiolabeled model haloacetic acid compound, chloroacetic acid, was observed. These results indicate that although the potential for biodegradation of chloroacetic acid exists in deep aquifer systems, chloroform entrained within these aquifers or formed in situ will tend to persist. These results have important implications for water managers planning to meet anticipated lowered permissible levels of tri-halomethanes in drinking water.The biodegradation potential of two drinking water disinfection byproducts was investigated using aquifer materials obtained from approximately 100 and 200 meters below land surface in an aerobic aquifer system undergoing aquifer storage recovery of treated surface water. No significant biodegradation of a model trihalomethane compound, chloroform, was observed in aquifer microcosms under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. In contrast, between 16 and 27 percent mineralization of a radiolabeled model haloacetic acid compound, chloroacetic acid, was observed. These results indicate that although the potential for biodegradation of chloroacetic acid exists in deep aquifer systems, chloroform entrained within these aquifers or formed in situ will tend to persist. These results have important implications for water managers planning to meet anticipated lowered permissible levels of trihalomethanes in drinking water.Aquifer-storage-recovery injection water often contains disinfection byproducts. Results are presented from a study in which two model disinfection byproducts, chloroform and chloroacetic acid, were used to examine biodegradation by indigenous microorganisms. The recharge system studied was near Las Vegas, NV, where the aquifers are recharged artificially during the winter months. Microcosms were constructed using aquifer material recovered from two layers. Results showed that no significant biodegradation of chloroform occurred under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, but chloroacetic acid was biodegraded under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2000
Title Biodegradation of disinfection byproducts as a potential removal process during aquifer storage recovery
DOI 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2000.tb04312.x
Authors J. E. Landmeyer, P. M. Bradley, J.M. Thomas
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Series Number
Index ID 70022580
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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