Author(s): Sung K, Corapcioglu MY, Drew MC
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Abstract Phytoremediation has the potential to enhance clean up of land contaminated by various pollutants. A mathematical model that includes a two-fluid phase flow model of water flow as well as a two-region soil model of contaminant reactions was developed and applied to various bioremediation scenarios in the unsaturated zone, especially to plant-aided bioremediation. To investigate model behavior and determine the main parameters and mechanisms that affect bioremediation in unplanted and planted soils, numerical simulations of theoretical scenarios were conducted before applying the model to field data. It is observed from the results that parameters affecting the contaminant concentration in the water phase, such as aqueous solubility, the octanol-water partition coefficient, and organic carbon content of the soil controlled the contaminant fate in the vadose zone. Simulation using the developed model also characterized the fate and transport of the contaminants both in planted and unplanted soils satisfactorily for field applications. Although phytoremediation has the potential for remediation of contaminated soils, results from both modeling and field studies suggested that plants may not always enhance the remediation efficiency when the soil already has a high microbial concentration, when the contaminant bioavailability is low, or when the overall reaction is mass transfer-limited. Therefore, other steps to increase contaminant bioavailability are needed in phytoremediation applications; natural purification mechanisms such as aging, volatilization, and natural bioremediation should be considered to maximize the plant effect and minimize the cost. Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.
This article was published in J Contam Hydrol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation