Remediating Groundwater Contaminated with Arsenic and Selenium

Achievement date: 
2018
Outcome/accomplishment: 

The NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), headquartered at Arizona State University, developed a permeable reactive barrier to remediate groundwater in sites contaminated by the toxic metalloids arsenic and selenium. The barrier was composed of iron-coated zeolite and enhanced by a microbial biofilm.

Impact/benefits: 

Remediating contaminated groundwater could have far-reaching applications for shielding water tables from dangerous pollutants that have wide-ranging health impacts. Successfully doing so could improve agricultural output and safety and lower the cost of returning contaminated sites to more productive uses for society.

Explanation/Background: 

The ERCcompleted experiments on selenium and arsenate columns in its development of the barrier. The Center also conducted proof of concept tests for transforming selenium and selenite over 10 days through microbial enrichment with cultures from a wastewater treatment plant.