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Simulation of aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation processes at a crude oil spill site

December 1, 1995

A two-dimensional, multispecies reactive solute transport model with sequential aerobic and anaerobic degradation processes was developed and tested. The model was used to study the field-scale solute transport and degradation processes at the Bemidji, Minnesota, crude oil spill site. The simulations included the biodegradation of volatile and nonvolatile fractions of dissolved organic carbon by aerobic processes, manganese and iron reduction, and methanogenesis. Model parameter estimates were constrained by published Monod kinetic parameters, theoretical yield estimates, and field biomass measurements. Despite the considerable uncertainty in the model parameter estimates, results of simulations reproduced the general features of the observed groundwater plume and the measured bacterial concentrations. In the simulation, 46% of the total dissolved organic carbon (TDOC) introduced into the aquifer was degraded. Aerobic degradation accounted for 40% of the TDOC degraded. Anaerobic processes accounted for the remaining 60% of degradation of TDOC: 5% by Mn reduction, 19% by Fe reduction, and 36% by methanogenesis. Thus anaerobic processes account for more than half of the removal of DOC at this site.

Publication Year 1995
Title Simulation of aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation processes at a crude oil spill site
DOI 10.1029/95WR02567
Authors Hedeff I. Essaid, Barbara A. Bekins, E. Michael Godsy, Ean Warren, Mary Jo Baedecker, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Research
Index ID 70185328
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program