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Abstract

Groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium (Cr+6) and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (cVOCs) presents unique in situ remedial challenges in an oxygen-rich environment. On one hand, chemical oxidation would be effective in treating the cVOCs; however, it would not be appropriate to treat Cr+6. Biological treatment may be appropriate to treat the Cr+6; however, the cVOC degradation pathway within these mixed plumes is currently following an abiotic pathway with little to no daughter-product production. Thus, a blended approach was needed to treat both constituents in situ in an effort to avoid a long-term, costly pump-and-treat solution. This article evaluates an in situ biogeochemical stabilization/reduction strategy by injecting an inorganic carbon-based remedial additive into the geologic and hydrogeologic environment to decrease concentrations within the commingled Cr+6 and cVOC plume. The concept involves creating favorable redox reducing conditions to shift the groundwater geochemical equilibrium from the more toxic Cr+6 to the less toxic trivalent chromium (Cr+3), with the final outcome being a conversion to chrome oxide that molecularly fixes to the soil grains. In addition, reducing conditions developed for chromium reduction should result in an increase in the available natural formation iron that should further enhance the natural abiotic reduction of cVOCs. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.