Modeling natural biodegradation: Theory and field application
Long, Gregory Park
Master of Science
Natural biodegradation is occurring at a Gulf Coast Refinery based on results of a field program that showed a statistically significant relationship between DO depression and BTEX contamination and that microbes capable of degrading BTEX are present in the soils at the site. Natural biodegradation is shown to have the potential to be a viable remedial technique at the Refinery based on modeling of the site using BIOPLUME II, a two dimensional ground water transport and biodegradation model. Natural biodegradation was shown and observed to be a viable remedial technique at a site in Traverse City, Michigan where contaminant remediation of the off-site plume occurred in less than three years. BIOPLUME II model results indicated that hydraulic flushing alone could not account for the observed declines in BTEX concentrations at three wells downgradient of an interdiction well field, but that biodegradation and vertical reaeration were processes required to accurately model the site.