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U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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Transport of Indigenous Protozoa in a Sandy Aquifer, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

by

Ronald W. Harvey (U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colo.), Nancy E. Kinner (Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N. H.), Dan MacDonald (Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N. H.), Amoret L. Bunn (Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N. H.), and David W. Metge (U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colo.)

Abstract

Transport of flagellates in sandy, organically contaminated aquifer sediments was investigated in a small-scale (2 m travel distance) natural-gradient tracer test in Cape Cod. The flagellates (average cell size, 2-3 mm), which appear to be common in the Cape Cod aquifer, were grown in Cerophyl, labeled with hydroethidine (a vital eukaryotic stain), and coinjected into aquifer sediments along with a conservative tracer (bromide). Rates of immobilization in undisturbed aquifer sediments were more than two orders of magnitude greater than those observed earlier for indigenous ground-water bacteria. The high rate of immobilization appeared to be related to the surface chemistries of the flagellates and not their size. Retardation for the flagellates was two- to three-fold greater than that generally observed for indigenous groundwater bacteria. Apparent dispersion was also significantly greater for the flagellates than for the bacteria and was much closer to that observed earlier for highly surface-active, microbial-sized, carboxylated-latex microspheres. The data suggest that flagellates are probably transported slowly through the aquifer.

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