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Synergistic Treatment of Mixed 1,4-Dioxane and Chlorinated Solvent Contaminations by Coupling Electrochemical Oxidation with Aerobic Biodegradation

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Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, United States
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, United States
§ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, United States
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, United States
*Phone: +1-970-491-8880; fax: +1-970-491-8224; e-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, 51, 21, 12619–12629
Publication Date (Web):October 12, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

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    Biodegradation of the persistent groundwater contaminant 1,4-dioxane is often hindered by the absence of dissolved oxygen and the co-occurrence of inhibiting chlorinated solvents. Using flow-through electrolytic reactors equipped with Ti/IrO2–Ta2O5 mesh electrodes, we show that combining electrochemical oxidation with aerobic biodegradation produces an overadditive treatment effect for degrading 1,4-dioxane. In reactors bioaugmented by Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans CB1190 with 3.0 V applied, 1,4-dioxane was oxidized 2.5 times faster than in bioaugmented control reactors without an applied potential, and 12 times faster than by abiotic electrolysis only. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses of CB1190 abundance, oxidation–reduction potential, and dissolved oxygen measurements indicated that microbial growth was promoted by anodic oxygen-generating reactions. At a higher potential of 8.0 V, however, the cell abundance near the anode was diminished, likely due to unfavorable pH and/or redox conditions. When coupled to electrolysis, biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane was sustained even in the presence of the common co-contaminant trichloroethene in the influent. Our findings demonstrate that combining electrolytic treatment with aerobic biodegradation may be a promising synergistic approach for the treatment of mixed contaminants.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03134.

    • Schematics and photos of the experimental design, details on analytical procedures and CB1190 inoculation procedures, and calculations used to determine flow-through degradation rates and instrumental uncertainty. Additional plots and tables show TCE removal, DO measurements, and pH values along the column reactor path. (PDF)

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