Use of tracer tests to evaluate the impact of enhanced-solubilization flushing on in-situ biodegradation

S. R. Alter, M. L. Brusseau, J. J. Piatt, A. Ray-Maitra, J. M. Wang, R. B. Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Tracer tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of a complexing sugar flush (CSF) on in-situ biodegradation potential at a site contaminated by jet fuel, solvents, and other organic compounds. Technical-grade hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin was used during the CSF study, which was conducted in a hydraulically isolated cell emplaced in a surficial aquifer. In-situ biodegradation potential was assessed with the use of tracer tests, which were conducted prior to and immediately following the CSF study. Ethanol, hexanol, and benzoate were used as the biodegradable tracers, while bromide was used as a nonreactive tracer. The results indicate that the biodegradation of benzoate was similar for both tracer tests. Conversely, the biodegradation of ethanol (23% increase) and hexanol (41% increase) was greater for the post-CSF tracer test. In addition, analysis of core samples collected from within the test cell indicates that the population density of aerobic jet-fuel degraders increased in the vicinity of the injection wells during the CSF. These results indicate that the cyclodextrin flush did not deleteriously affect the indigenous microbial community. This study illustrates that tracer tests can be used to evaluate the impact of remediation activities on in-situ biodegradation potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Bioremediation
  • Contaminant transport
  • Ground water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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