Calcite Precipitation and Trace Metal Partitioning in Groundwater and the Vadose Zone: Remediation of Strontium-90 and Other Divalent Metals and Radionuclides in Arid Western Environments

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In situ remediation is an emerging technology that will play an important role in DOE's environmental restoration program, and is an area where enhancement in fundamental understanding will lead to significantly improved cleanup tools. In situ remediation technologies have inherent advantages because they do not require the costly removal, transport, and disposal of contamination. In addition, these technologies minimize worker exposure because contaminated materials are not brought to the surface. Finally, these technologies will minimize the generation of secondary waste streams with their associated treatment and disposal. A particularly promising in situ remediation technology is bioremediation. For inorganic contaminants such ... continued below

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Ferris, F. Grant April 12, 2003.

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Description

In situ remediation is an emerging technology that will play an important role in DOE's environmental restoration program, and is an area where enhancement in fundamental understanding will lead to significantly improved cleanup tools. In situ remediation technologies have inherent advantages because they do not require the costly removal, transport, and disposal of contamination. In addition, these technologies minimize worker exposure because contaminated materials are not brought to the surface. Finally, these technologies will minimize the generation of secondary waste streams with their associated treatment and disposal. A particularly promising in situ remediation technology is bioremediation. For inorganic contaminants such as radionuclides and metals, in situ bioremediation can be used to alter the mobility or reduce the toxicity of radionuclides and metals by changing the valence state of the radionuclides and metals, degrading or producing complexing ligands, or facilitating partitioning on to or off of solid phases. The purpose of the research presented here was to explore microbially facilitated partitioning of metal and radionuclides by their co-precipitation with calcium carbonate. Although this approach is a very attractive cleanup alternative, its practical implementation requires improved scientific understanding of the geochemical and biological mechanisms involved, particularly with respect to rates and mechanisms of microbially facilitated calcite precipitation. Of interest for this investigation is the in situ manipulation of calcite precipitation by the microbially catalyzed hydrolysis of urea. The production of ammonia during microbial decomposition of urea tends to drive pH upwards, and results in formation of alkaline conditions. When solution concentrations of Ca2+ and HCO3- are high enough, calcium carbonate precipitation may occur. A series of water samples collected from four wells tapping the aquifer underlying Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) in the vicinity of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) all tested positively for the presence of urea degrading bacteria. Calcite precipitation experiments were conducted with isolated ESRP urea degrading bacteria and B. pasteurii (ATCC 11859), a known urea hydrolyzer. In all of the experiments, visible white precipitates developed within the first thirty minutes after inoculation. The identity of the precipitates as calcite was confirmed by X-ray diffraction. Scanning electron micrographs of the solids revealed both spherical and amorphous precipitates, with microbes in close association with the minerals. The kinetics of calcite precipitation at 10 to 20 C was subsequently investigated using an artificial groundwater (AGW) medium based on the aqueous chemistry of the ESRP aquifer. Experimental data was fit using unconstrained nonlinear regression and optimization to determine rate constants and points of critical supersaturation (Scritical i.e., calcite nucleation). The highest rates of calcite precipitation (ca. 0.8 mmole L-1 day-1) occurred near Scritical. While unique time course trajectories of dissolved Ca2+ concentrations were observed at the different experimental temperatures, the calcite precipitation rates all followed the same asymptotic profile decreasing progressively with saturation state regardless of temperature. This emphasizes the fundamental kinetic dependence of calcite precipitation on saturation state, which connects the otherwise dissimilar temporal patterns of calcite precipitation that evolved under the different temperature and biogeochemical regimes of the experiments.

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OSTI as DE00809819

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  • Other Information: PBD: 12 Apr 2003

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/15025
  • Grant Number: FG07-99ER15025
  • DOI: 10.2172/809819 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 809819
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc738134

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  • April 12, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 6:38 p.m.

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Ferris, F. Grant. Calcite Precipitation and Trace Metal Partitioning in Groundwater and the Vadose Zone: Remediation of Strontium-90 and Other Divalent Metals and Radionuclides in Arid Western Environments, report, April 12, 2003; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc738134/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.