Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014DE268B

Enhanced Pollutant Biodegradation by Electrode Use

Institute: Delaware
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-06-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $3,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,402

Principal Investigators: Steven Dentel, Steven Dentel

Abstract: In some environmental situations, biodegradable organic substances remain at high concentrations over long periods of time, because there is a shortage of the oxygen required to permit microbial oxidation to occur. Examples are (1) the sediments that underlie natural waters; (2) wastewaters or sludges in treatment facilities; (3) contaminated groundwaters; and (4) landfill contents and the landfill leachate. In these situations, the rate and extent of biodegradation could be accelerated to remove pollutants if the oxygen limitation could be circumvented. The objective of this research is to investigate a novel method that has been developed to alleviate the oxygen limitation in systems designed for organic pollutant biodegradation. This approach uses graphite electrodes placed in the aerobic and anaerobic zones of a system; excess electrons generated during biodegradation processes can be carried to the aerobic zone. This means that oxygen does not need to be injected into the anaerobic zone, and also means that electrical energy is generated for other uses.