Anaerobic Bioremediation

Enhancing natural, organic processes to affect green remediation!

In the absence of oxygen (anaerobic conditions), anaerobic microorganisms will use many organic contaminants as a food source, effectively breaking them down into carbon dioxide, water, and microbial cell mass. We work to increase the rate at which the microbes bioremediate the organic contaminants by favourably “enhancing” the conditions through increasing the concentration of electron donors and nutrients in groundwater.

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Important Considerations

1. Successful anaerobic bioremediation efforts must incorporate all of the necessary components: an abundant supply of electron acceptors, nutrients for building cell mass, active cultures to spur on microbial growth, and enzyme enhancements to increase bioavailabilty.

2. Very high concentrations of contaminants may negatively impact the micro-organisms before they can accomplish their work. At high concentrations, an integrated approach is often required. First, another remedial option, such as chemical oxidation or chemical reduction, will be used to reduce contaminant concentrations. When contaminant concentrations are sufficiently reduced, bioremediation will be used to complete contaminant breakdown.

3. Anaerobic bioremediation is a very effective approach to address chlorinated hydrocarbons such as PCE and TCE but is less effective at addressing petroleum hydrocarbons such as BTEX, gasoline, diesel and fuel oil.


For anaerobic bioremediation, electron acceptors can include: Acetate and Lactate, Edible Oils, Hydrogen-Releasing Compounds and Devices, Polymers, Wood Chips and Leaf Compost, and Organic Carbon such as Molasses, Acetate, Lactate, or Vegetable Oil.

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The Results

An effective method for degrading PCE, TCE, and other chlorinated solvents / contaminants (i.e. TCA, PCP, etc.) in soil and groundwater, anaerobic bioremediation (or “reductive bioremediation”) processes can also be used for such contaminants as pesticides. Enhanced anaerobic bioremediation creates conditions in which naturally occurring or injected micro-organisms, in the absence of oxygen, will feed on contaminants, breaking them down into less-toxic compounds and by-products such as chloride, elemental sulfur, hydrogen gas, methane, and sulfide.

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