Mechanisms for abiotic dechlorination of TCE by ferrous minerals under oxic and anoxic conditions in natural sediments

Citation:

C. E. Schaefer, Ho, P., Berns, E., and Werth, C. J., “Mechanisms for abiotic dechlorination of TCE by ferrous minerals under oxic and anoxic conditions in natural sediments,” Environmental Science & Technology, 2018.

Abstract:

Bench-scale experiments were performed on natural sediments to assess abiotic dechlorination of trichloroethene (TCE) under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. In the absence of oxygen (<26 µM), TCE dechlorination proceeded via a reductive pathway generating acetylene and/or ethene. Reductive dechlorination rate constants up to 3.1 x 10-5 d-1 were measured, after scaling to in situ solid water ratios. In the presence of oxygen greater than 120 µM, TCE dechlorination proceeded via an oxidative pathway generating formic/glyoxylic and glycolic/acetic acids, and oxidative dechlorination rate constants (again scaled to in situ conditions) up to 7.4 x 10-3 d-1 were measured. These rates correspond to half-lives of 60 and 0.25 years for abiotic TCE dechlorination under anaerobic and aerobic conditions, respectively, indicating the potentially large impact of aerobic TCE oxidation in the field. For both reductive and oxidative TCE dechlorination pathways, measured first-order rate constants increased with increasing ferrous iron content, suggesting the role of iron oxidation. Hydroxyl radical formation was measured and increased with increasing oxygen and ferrous iron content. Rate constants associated with TCE oxidation products increased with increasing hydroxyl radical generation rates, and are zero in the presence of a hydroxyl radical scavenger, suggesting that oxidative TCE dechlorination is a hydroxyl radical driven process.

Notes:

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