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Environmental Sustainability Division

Projects & Programs

Subsurface Bacterial Transport Research at the Oyster Site

The delivery of microorganisms to contaminated regions of the subsurface requires understanding of subsurface bacterial transport processes and their field-scale manifestations. The feasibility of remediating metal and radionuclide contamination in porous sandy aquifers using bioaugmentation strategies is theoretically conceivable, but it cannot be rigorously evaluated because so few field experiments have been performed. The purpose of this field research project is to develop new insights into the basic processes that control bacterial transport in aquifers and extend this experience to metal-contaminated the U.S. Department of Energy sites. A pristine site was sought for initial field experiments to elucidate the basic mechanisms controlling field-scale transport before transitioning to contaminated sites where this basic understanding could be applied. To meet these needs, the Oyster Scientific Team has selected an appropriate, field site, is developing procedures for selecting bacteria strains from in situ communities, developing new procedures for tracking bacteria, testing scale-up approaches, and generally designing strategies to facilitate the transport of bacteria within heterogeneous iron and aluminum oxyhydroxide-bearing subsurface systems similar to those where much toxic metal and radionuclide contamination resides.

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