Factors determining the attenuation of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons in eutrophic river sediment impacted by discharging polluted groundwater

Kelly Hamonts, Thomas Kuhn, Miranda Maesen, Jan Bronders, Richard Lookman, Harald Kalka, Ludo Diels, Rainer U. Meckenstock, Dirk Springael, Winnie Dejonghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored the potential of eutrophic river sediment to attenuate the infiltration of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbon (CAH)- polluted groundwater discharging into the Zenne River near Brussels, Belgium. Active CAH biodegradation by reductive dechlorination in the sedimentwassuggested by a high dechlorination activity in microcosms containing sediment samples and the detection of dechlorination products in sediment pore water. A unique hydrogeochemical evaluation, including aδ2H and δ18Ostable isotope approach, allowed to determine the contribution of different abiotic and biotic CAH attenuation processesandto delineate their spatial distribution in the riverbed. Reductive dechlorination of the CAHs seemed to be the most widespread attenuation process, followed by dilution by unpolluted groundwater discharge and by surface water mixing. Although CAHs were never detected in the surface water, 26-28% of the investigated locations in the riverbed did not show CAH attenuation. We conclude that the riverbed sediments can attenuate infiltrating CAHs to a certain extent, but will probably not completely prevent CAHs to discharge from the contaminated groundwater into the Zenne River.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5270-5275
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume43
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

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