Enhanced In Situ Anaerobic Bioremediation of Fuel-Contaminated Ground Water

Site Name:

Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach


Southern CA

Period of

9/97- 10/98


Field demonstration

In Situ Bioremediation
- Demonstration used one extraction and three injection wells (three zones of 180 m3 each)
- Extraction rate 4.5 L/min; injection 1.5 L/min/well
- Electron acceptors varied by zone - one zone augmented with sulfate, one with sulfate and nitrate, one with none; three rounds of augmentations performed
- Sampling performed with automated system

Cleanup Authority:
California Regional Water Quality Control Board

Project Management:
Carmen A. LeBron
Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center
1100 23rd Ave, ESC 411
Port Hueneme, CA 93043
Telephone: (805) 982-1616
Fax: (805) 982-4304
E-mail: lebronca@nfesc.navy.mil

Principal Investigator:
Martin Reinhard
Dept. of Civil and Environ. Engr.
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305 4020
Telephone: (650) 723-0308
Fax: (650) 725-3162
E-mail: reinhard@cive.stanford.edu
Regulatory Authority:
Lawrence Vitale
CARWQCB Region 8
2010 Iowa Ave, Suite 100
Riverside, CA 92507-2409
(909) 782-4130

Fuel hydrocarbons and BTEX
- Maximum concentrations in groundwater: benzene - 4,000 ug/L; ethylbenzene - 250 ug/L; m+p-xylenes - 500 ug/L

Waste Source:
Leaks from USTs

Type/Quantity of Media Treated:
Groundwater (in situ), Soil (in situ), LNAPL
- Contaminated area 20 acres, demonstration conducted on portion of site
- Groundwater velocity 0.7 cm/sec; transmissivity >2 ft2/day; depth to groundwater low
- Groundwater had been anaerobic for >10 yrs

Purpose/Significance of Application:
Demonstrate anaerobic bioremediation for treating fuel hydrocarbons

Regulatory Requirements/Cleanup Goals:
- Demonstrate the technical viability of the technology to treat petroleum hydrocarbons and to stimulate biodegradation of BTEX with nitrate and sulfate
- No specific cleanup goals were identified

- Concentrations of BTEX compounds were reduced, with toluene preferentially degraded
- Ethylbenzene and m+p-xylene degradation stimulated by nitrate, with concentrations reduced from 250 to <10 ug/L for ethylbenzene and from 500 to <20 ug/L for xylenes
- O-xylene degradation stimulated by sulfate, with concentration reduced from >400 to <10 ug/L
- Benzene removal was mostly due to flushing rather than biodegradation

Cost Factors:
- Demonstration costs were $875,000, including equipment, labor, laboratory supplies, travel, and overhead; >9,000 samples were collected
- Projected present value costs for a full-scale bioremediation application were $1,085,000, or $4,340/gallon of fuel recovered, compared with similar costs for pump and treat of $1,530,000, or $6,120/gallon of fuel recovered

In 1984, a fuel leak was discovered at the Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Seal Beach when a steel tank was replaced with fiberglass tanks. NWS Seal Beach is located in southern California between Long Beach and Huntington Beach. About 5,800 gallons of fuel had leaked and migrated to the groundwater and was a concern for its potential effects on a local wildlife refuge.

A demonstration of in situ bioremediation was performed in a portion of the contaminated area of this site. The demonstration evaluated the performance of various concentrations of sulfate and nitrate in three zones between one extraction well and three injection wells. The results showed that concentrations of BTEX compounds were reduced, with toluene preferentially degraded. Ethylbenzene and xylenes also were degraded, but benzene was found to be removed mostly by flushing. Projected full-scale costs for in situ bioremediation were found to be approximately 30% less than for pump and treat. Lessons learned included the effect of BTEX compounds in a non-aqueous phase, the demand of non-BTEX fuel hydrocarbons on sulfate and nitrate, and the role of sulfate and nitrate as terminal electron acceptors.