Simultaneous adsorption and biodegradation of trichloroethylene occurs in a biochar packed column treating contaminated landfill leachate
Healy, Mark G.
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Siggins, Alma, Thorn, Camilla, Healy, Mark G., & Abram, Florence. (2021). Simultaneous adsorption and biodegradation of trichloroethylene occurs in a biochar packed column treating contaminated landfill leachate. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 403, 123676. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123676
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a human carcinogen that is commonly found in landfill leachate as a result of anthropogenic activities. Contaminated leachate plumes may be intercepted prior to reaching groundwater and treated in situ using permeable reactive barriers (PRB). This study used a packed column system containing herbal pomace and spruce biochar, previously shown to have TCE adsorptive capabilities, to investigate the feasibility of using pyrolysed waste as a fill material in a PRB. Influent containing raw or autoclaved landfill leachate was used to investigate the potential for environmental micro-organisms to establish a TCE-dechlorinating biofilm on the biochar, in order to prolong the operational life span of the system. TCE removal ≥ 99.7 was observed by both spruce and herbal pomace based biochars. No dichloroethylene (DCE) isomers were present in the column effluents, but cis-1,2 DCE was adsorbed to the biochar treating raw landfill leachate, indicating that dechlorination was occurring biologically in these columns. Known microbial species that are individually capable of complete dechlorination of TCE to ethene were not detected by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, but several species capable of partial TCE dechlorination (Desulfitobacterium spp., Sulfurospirillium spp. and Desulfuromonas spp) were present in the biofilms of the columns treating raw landfill leachate. These data demonstrate that biochar from waste material may be capable of supporting a dechlorinating biofilm to promote bioremediation of TCE.