Sulfate-Enhanced Bioremediation of BTEX



A former gas station in North Carolina contaminated groundwater with BTEX from a UST basin. The site is now in the median of a busy four-lane highway. Residents within 250 feet of the site use an irrigation well, prompting the need to conduct proactive remedial action.

Site conditions of sand and clay above partially weathered bedrock and depleted sulfate concentrations within the plume created a challenge for remediation methodologies such as in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) and soil vapor extraction (SVE)/air sparging (AS).


•  Make use of prevailing aquifer conditions
•  Achieve easy field application with minimum O&M
•  Stimulate BTEX degradation with sulfate addition


Pilot Test 
•  Inject a single drum of EAS at one permanent injection point (PIW-1)
•  Verify addition of sulfate would stimulate BTEX degradation

Full Scale Application
•  21 injection wells
•  1 drum of EAS per well
•  Gravity feed with no dilution or chase water
•  4 post-injection monitoring events at 1, 3, 6 and 10 month intervals


Pilot study demonstrated that the addition of sulfate as an electron acceptor would stimulate bacteria in the area of impact.  BTEX decreased 80% in PIW-1 within 6 months of injection, causing approval of full scale applicaiton

Full scale injection reduced BTEX concentrations by an order of magnitude. Benzene concentrations reduced by an average of 69% between MW-1, MW-4 and MW-13.