The natural processes occurring in subsurface environments have proven to effectively remove a number of organic pollutants from water. The predominant redox conditions revealed to be one of the controlling factors. However, in the case of organic micropollutants the knowledge on this potential redox-dependent behavior is still limited. Motivated by managed aquifer recharge practices microcosm experiments involving aquifer material, settings potentially feasible in field applications, and organic micropollutants at environmental concentrations were carried out. Different anaerobic redox conditions were promoted and sustained in each set of microcosms by adding adequate quantities of electron donors and acceptors. Whereas denitrification and sulfate-reducing conditions are easily achieved and maintained, Fe- and Mn-reduction are strongly constrained by the slower dissolution of the solid phases commonly present in aquifers. The thorough description and numerical modeling of the evolution of the experiments, including major and trace solutes and dissolution/precipitation of solid phases, have been proven necessary to the understanding of the processes and closing the mass balance. As an example of micropollutant results, the ubiquitous beta-blocker atenolol is completely removed in the experiments, the removal occurring faster under more advanced redox conditions. This suggests that aquifers constitute a potentially efficient alternative water treatment for atenolol, especially if adequate redox conditions are promoted during recharge and long enough residence times are ensured.

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Published on 01/01/2011

DOI: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2011.09.003
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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