February 28, 2017

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SiREM Presents at SMART Remediation

Sandra Dworatzek and Phil Dennis delivered a presentation entitled "Bioremediation Approaches and Tools for Anaerobic Benzene Remediation" at SMART Remediation held in Toronto, Ontario on January 26, 2017 and Ottawa, Ontario on February 16, 2017.

Smart Methods in Advanced Remediation Technologies (SMART) is a series of technical learning seminars for environmental professionals to bring the North American environmental community together to enhance the collective understanding of cutting-edge characterization and remediation technologies.

"Bioremediation Approaches and Tools for Anaerobic Benzene Remediation" was presented by Sandra Dworatzek in Toronto and Phil Dennis at the Ottawa event. The presentation covered research & development on the scale-up and characterization of bioaugmentation cultures for introducing beneficial benzene degraders and molecular tools for quantifying these microorganisms.

The Genome Canada funded study is being performed at the University of Toronto and SiREM, a division of Geosyntec, and includes partner Federated Co-operatives Limited. The ultimate goal of the study is to provide tools for remediation practitioners to make use of biodegradation pathways that do not require challenging oxygen addition, which could revolutionize how benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene contaminated sites are cleaned up.


Bioremediation Approaches and Tools for Anaerobic Benzene Remediation

BTEX compounds and other aromatic hydrocarbon compounds typically degrade faster under aerobic conditions than in anaerobic systems. Hydrocarbon contaminated aquifers are often anaerobic meaning that aerobic bioremediation is not always feasible and anaerobic approaches may be required. To meet this need, anaerobic enrichment cultures capable of complete degradation of benzene, toluene and xylene have been developed at the University of Toronto. These cultures have recently been characterized and key organisms involved in the process have been identified. Furthermore, anaerobic degradation of benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons can be enhanced through the injection of (non-oxygen) electron acceptors such as commercially available sulfate solutions.

SiREM, the University of Toronto and Federated Cooperatives Limited are currently engaged in a three-year Genome Canada funded project to move anaerobic benzene degradation from the lab to the field. The objectives of the project include scale-up of an anaerobic benzene bioaugmentation culture to field application volumes, demonstrating its effectiveness for bioaugmentation in laboratory treatability studies and ultimately testing the culture in field pilot tests. The culture is currently being assessed for bioaugmentation using microcosms constructed with materials from contaminated hydrocarbon field sites. Information provided from this testing will include inoculum density requirements, degradation rates and the range of geochemical conditions for optimal performance of the process which will be used to design upcoming field pilot trials. Molecular tools to track key microbes and functional genes are also being developed. This presentation will focus on the scale up and performance of the culture in laboratory treatability studies and discuss lessons learned to be applied to upcoming field applications.

More Information

For more information regarding the network, visit: SMART Remediation
For more information on anaerobic benzene remediation, contact Sandra Dworatzek at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Phil Dennis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To learn more about Sandra see her profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandra-dworatzek/