The fate of aqueous benzene in subsurface was investigated in this study, focusing on the role of sorption and biodegradation on the benzene attenuation under dynamic flow conditions. Two sets of column tests were conducted in Plexiglass flow cells packed uniformly with sandy aquifer materials. The first set of the experiment was conducted with a step-type injection of benzene with different powder activated carbon (PAC) contents: (1) PAC = 0%; (2) PAC = 0.5%; (3) PAC = 2.0%. The second set was performed as a pulse-type with different test conditions: (4) benzene; (5) benzene and bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa); (6) benzene and bacteria (P. aeruginosa) with hydrogen peroxide. In addition, numerical experiments were performed to examine the role of sorption processes on the benzene attenuation. In the step mode experiments, the KCl breakthrough curves (BTCs) reached the input concentration while the benzene BTCs were considerably lower than those of KCl with slight retardation for all cases, indicating that both reversible/retardation and irreversible sorption occurred. The pulse type tests showed that attenuation of benzene increased in the presence of bacteria due to biodegradation. The benzene attenuation by microbial degradation increased furthermore in the presence of hydrogen peroxide owing to sufficient supply of dissolved oxygen in soil column. Numerical experiments demonstrated that retardation could not contribute to the attenuation of benzene in soils but could only extend its breakthrough time. Experimental results indicated that aqueous benzene could be attenuated by irreversible sorption and biodegradation during transport through the subsurface. Additionally, the attenuation of aqueous benzene is closely related to organic carbon content and oxygen level existing in contaminated aquifers.
- Contaminant transport
- Monitored natural attenuation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal