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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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Microbial Degradation of Nitrotoluenes in Surface Soils and Aquifer Sediments, Weldon Spring, Missouri

by

Francis H. Chapelle (U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, South Carolina) and Paul M. Bradley (U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, South Carolina)

Abstract

Surface soils and underlying aquifer material from a nitrotoluene-contaminated site at Weldon Spring, Missouri, were evaluated for the potential of indigenous microorganisms to transform 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (2,4,6-TNT), 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT) and 2,6-dinitrotoluene (2,6-DNT). The results indicate that the microbial communities are capable of rapidly metabolizing 2,4-DNT, 2,6-DNT and 2,4,6-TNT. In most cases, complete dissappearance of the source compound was achieved within 20 to 70 days. These results indicate that in-situ bioremediation may be a viable alternative for treating contaminated soils and ground water. Furthermore, the results suggest that the presently observed nitroaromatics contamination of ground water is unlikely to be a relic of past (50 years before present) waste-disposal practices, but rather reflects continual leaching of nitroaromatics from contaminated soils.

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