Reduced Sediments: A Factor in the Design of Subsurface Oxidant Delivery Systems


  • Scott F. Korom,

    1. Scott E Korom received his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Akron in 1982 and 1984, respectively, and his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University in 1991. Korom worked for two years in the Environmental Sciences Section of the Savannah River Technology Center as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. He is currently an assistant professor in geological engineering at the University of North Dakota (Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202–8358). His research interests include ground water identification and ground water contaminant transport and remediation. Korom is a licensed professional engineer in North Dakota.
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  • Michael J. McFarland,

    1. Michael J. McFarland is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University (Utah Water Research Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322–8200). Dr. McFarland received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Yale University and an M.S. in chemical engineering and a Ph. D. in agricultural engineering from Cornell University. Dr. McFarland has authored or coauthored more than 30 technical publications. He has served as a consulting engineer for both federal and local government agencies as well as private industry. Dr. McFarland is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Utah and is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.
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  • Ronald C. Sims

    1. Ronald C. Sims is professor and head of the Division of Environmental Engineering, Utah State University (Utah Water Research Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322–8200), and specializes in the investigation and management of PAHs in subsurface environments. Dr. Sims received his Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering from North Carolina State University, an M.S. in environmental engineering from Washington State University, and an M.S. in environmental chemistry and biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Public Health. He has worked in international programs for the United Nations and the U.S. State Department and has been employed by Mobay Chemical Co., South Carolina, and Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina.
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A preliminary field performance evaluation of in situ bioremediation of a contaminated aquifer at the Libby, Montana, Superfund site, a former wood preserving site, was conducted for the Bioremediation Field Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). The current approach for site remediation involves injecting oxygen and nutrients into the aquifer to stimulate microbial degradation of target compounds that include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and pentachlorophenol. The preliminary field evaluation determined that, in addition to the oxygen demand associated with the microbial oxidation of the organic contamination, uncontaminated aquifer sediments at the site are naturally reduced and also exert a significant oxygen demand. This conclusion is supported by three types of information: (1) analyses of ground water samples; (2) results from a field-scale tracer test; and (3) results of laboratory evaluations of oxygen use by reduced aquifer sediment samples. An estimate of the cost of supplying hydrogen peroxide to satisfy the oxygen demand of the uncontaminated reduced sediments is provided to demonstrate that the additional cost of oxidizing the reduced sediments could be significant. The presence of naturally occurring reduced sediments at a contamination site should be considered in the design of subsurface oxidant delivery systems.