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Bacterial reduction of iron in clay barriers: a new technology for the remediation of organic groundwater contaminants


None of the industrialized or developing countries has adequately protected its aquifers against contaminations and groundwater pollution by domestic, agricultural and industrial chemicals is at an all time high in many parts of the world. The scale and urgency of the problem is largely recognised and several major initiatives have been developed to deal with pollution control and abatement. In Europe, the EC Water Framework Directive require that surface, coastal and underground waters meet; good status; within all the member states by 2015. With only 10 years to go, initiatives to develop cost-effective and sustainable water remediation technologies are crucially needed.

The proposed project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a novel permeable barrier technology; the Bio Fe-Clay Barrier; which could be a lower-cost and more sustainable alternative to other technologies for the remediation of diverse groundwater contaminations, including pesticides, chlorinate daliphatics and nitroaromatics. The proposed technology is cutting-edge in that, for the first time ever, it will involve the in situ microbial Fe-reduction of barrier clay materials and will take advantage of the unique ability of reduced Fe-clays in promoting the degradation of organic compounds. Feasibility experiments under both laboratory and field-like conditions will be conducted within state-of-the-art facilities, using high-tech equipments and a multi-disciplinary approach, combining mineralogy, microbiology and soil mechanics.

The results are crucially needed to inform the scientific community, policymakers, managers and stakeholders on the relevance of the Bio Fe-Clay Barrier technology. Funding this project will help a young European researcher to develop her promising career in Europe rather than in the USA and attract industrial partners and new research founds while transferring her knowledge, demonstrating her professional maturity and strengthening her international reputation.

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6 Kensington Terrace
United Kingdom

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