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Modeling steady-state methanogenic degradation of phenols in groundwater

November 1, 1993

Field and microcosm observations of methanogenic phenolic compound degradation indicate that Monod kinetics governs the substrate disappearance but overestimates the observed biomass. In this paper we present modeling results from an ongoing multidisciplinary study of methanogenic biodegradation of phenolic compounds in a sand and gravel aquifer contaminated by chemicals and wastes used in wood treatment. Field disappearance rates of four phenols match those determined in batch microcosm studies previously performed by E.M. Godsy and coworkers. The degradation process appears to be at steady-state because even after a sustained influx over several decades, the contaminants still are disappearing in transport downgradient. The existence of a steady-state degradation profile of each substrate together with a low biomass density in the aquifer indicate that the bacteria population is exhibiting no net growth. This may be due to the oligotrophic nature of the biomass population in which utilization and growth are approximately independent of concentration for most of the concentration range. Thus a constant growth rate should exist over much of the contaminated area which may in turn be balanced by an unusually high decay or maintenance rate due to hostile conditions or predation.

Publication Year 1993
Title Modeling steady-state methanogenic degradation of phenols in groundwater
DOI 10.1016/0169-7722(93)90029-R
Authors Barbara A. Bekins, E. Michael Godsy, Donald F. Goerlitz
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Index ID 70185435
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program