In situ transformation of toluene and xylene to benzylsuccinic acid analogs in contaminated groundwater Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zp38wg268

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  • The rate of removal of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and the xylene isomers (BTEX) from contaminated groundwater is needed to design remediation processes. Benzylsuccinic acid (BSA) and methyl-benzylsuccinic acid (methyl BSA) are unambiguous metabolites of anaerobic BTEX biodegradation. An analytical method for quantitative determination of BSA in groundwater samples was developed. Samples containing BSA and methyl BSA were extracted onto 0.5 g of styrene-divinylbenzene, eluted with ethyl acetate, and methylated with diazomethane. Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry with electron impact ionization was used for separation and detection. The recovery from spiked 1 L groundwater samples was 88 to 100 %. The precision of the method, indicated by the relative standard error was ± 4% with a method detection limit of 0.2 μg/L. The method was then used to analyze samples from single-well push-pull tests conducted by injecting deuterated toluene and xylene into BTEX-contaminated wells in order to demonstrate in-situ biodegradation. Unambiguous evidence for deuterated toluene and xylene biodegradation was obtained with the observation of deuterated BSA and methyl BSA coupled with the utilization of nitrate presumably due to denitrification as terminal-electron-accepting process. Minimum first-order degradation rates for deuterated toluene estimated from formation of BSA were 0.0004 to 0.001 day⁻¹. Rates of methyl BSA formation were not calculated because methyl BSA, although detected, was not above the quantitation limit. Removal rates of deuterated toluene and o-xylene were not directly measurable because the rates were too low to measure significant changes in parent compound concentrations. Wells for which the formation of deuterated BSA and methyl BSA were observed had lower relative concentrations of toluene and xylenes relative to total BTEX than wells for which no deuterated BSA and methyl BSA were observed. Retardation factors for injected deuterated toluene and background toluene of 2 and 14, respectively, were obtained from push-pull tests conducted to determine toluene transport properties. Differences in retardation factors for injected and background toluene indicate differences between injected and background solute transport and is a topic that requires further study.
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