Highly organic natural media as permeable reactive barriers: TCE partitioning and anaerobic degradation profile in eucalyptus mulch and compost

Chemosphere. 2012 Oct;89(6):665-71. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.06.006. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Batch and column experiments were conducted with eucalyptus mulch and commercial compost to evaluate suitability of highly organic natural media to support anaerobic decomposition of trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater. Experimental data for TCE and its dechlorination byproducts were analyzed with Hydrus-1D model to estimate the partitioning and kinetic parameters for the sequential dechlorination reactions during TCE decomposition. The highly organic natural media allowed development of a bioactive zone capable of decomposing TCE under anaerobic conditions. The first order TCE biodecomposition reaction rates were 0.23 and 1.2d(-1) in eucalyptus mulch and compost media, respectively. The retardation factors in the eucalyptus mulch and compost columns for TCE were 35 and 301, respectively. The results showed that natural organic soil amendments can effectively support the anaerobic bioactive zone for remediation of TCE contaminated groundwater. The natural organic media are effective environmentally sustainable materials for use in permeable reactive barriers.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Eucalyptus / microbiology*
  • Groundwater / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Plant Bark / microbiology
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Trichloroethylene / chemistry
  • Trichloroethylene / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Trichloroethylene