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Buffer Requirements for Groundwater Remediation

© 2012 EPFL

© 2012 EPFL

Chlorinated solvents are widespread and persistent groundwater contaminants. Their longevity has prompted environmental engineers to devise better bioremediation treatments based on fermentation of specific organic compounds.

Unfortunately, along with rapid remediation rates, this cleanup increases the acidity of the groundwater, which in turn can drastically inhibit microbial activity, stopping the groundwater cleanup. The solution is to add buffering agents to groundwater to neutralize the acidity.

The Ecological Engineering Laboratory has developed a software, BUCHLORAC, enabling precise calculation of the amount of buffer required. Buchlorac allows users to estimate the buffer requirements for their specific operating situation and design conditions including, for example, site water chemistry, mineralogy, amount of chlorinated solvent to be degraded, type of organic substrate and buffering additive and design inhibition pH.