Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, 123 University Rd., Sec. 3, Douliu, Yunlin 64002, Taiwan, ROC; National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Feng Tay Distinguished Professor, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address: [Email]
Benzene and sulfolane are commonly used but hazardous chemicals in the petrochemical industry and their leakage and inappropriate disposal certainly causes serious soil and groundwater contamination. In this research, the bioremediation potential of groundwater contaminated with benzene and sulfolane was evaluated, and the operating parameters for bioremediation were established through laboratory batch experiments. Among the various bacterial consortia, the bacterial population of monitoring well c (MWc) contained the highest sulfolane and benzene removal efficiencies. When the dissolved oxygen (DO) level was >1 mg L-1, the bacterial population of MWc showed excellent removal efficiencies toward high and low concentrations of benzene and sulfolane. The C:N:P ratio of 100:10:1 in media facilitated sulfolane and benzene biodegradation, and the degradation time was greatly reduced. Adding additional phosphate into real groundwater could slightly increase benzene removal efficiency. Trace elements only slightly enhanced benzene degradation. On the contrary, additional phosphate and trace elements supplementary did not enhance sulfolane degradation. However, sulfolane removal efficiency could be significantly improved through bioaugmentation of specific sulfolane degrading bacterium and 100% sulfolane removal efficiency was achieved.