Professors Eric A. Seagren and Jennifer G. Becker Received a Grant from NSF

Civil and Environmental Engineering Prof. Eric A. Seagren (Co-PI) and Prof. Jennifer G. Becker (PI) of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology are the recent recipients of a grant for $376,193 from the National Science Foundation to support their research on in situ bioremediation of chlorinated ethenes in the form of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). In situ bioremediation refers to the use of bacteria to detoxify contaminants in the environment. DNAPLs are organic liquid contaminants that are denser than water and do not easily mix or dissolve in water. Examples of DNAPLS include the dry cleaning solvents tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene, which are known or suspected carcinogens and some of the most common groundwater contaminants in the United States. Several types of bacteria can respire these contaminants, as long as they are dissolved in the water. Thus, remediation of DNAPL tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene contamination in the subsurface environment represents a tremendous challenge. Profs. Seagren and Beckers work will investigate the use of bacteria to treat DNAPLs in situ (i.e., in place) through bioenhanced dissolution, i.e., enhanced mass removal from chlorinated solvent DNAPLs through the reductive dechlorination of dissolved contaminants near the DNAPL-water interface.

Published October 20, 2009