Enhancement of gasworks groundwater remediation by coupling a bio-electrochemical and activated carbon system

Panagiotis Kirmizakis, Rory Doherty, Carlos A. Mendonça, Ricardo Costeira, Chris C. R. Allen, Ulrich S. Ofterdinger, Leonid Kulakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Here, we show the electrical response, bacterial community, and remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated groundwater from a gasworks site using a graphite-chambered bio-electrochemical system (BES) that utilizes granular activated carbon (GAC) as both sorption agent and high surface area anode. Our innovative concept is the design of a graphite electrode chamber system rather than a classic non-conductive BES chamber coupled with GAC as part of the BES. The GAC BES is a good candidate as a sustainable remediation technology that provides improved degradation over GAC, and near real-time observation of associated electrical output. The BES chambers were effectively colonized by the bacterial communities from the contaminated groundwater. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) of UniFrac Observed Taxonomic Units shows distinct grouping of microbial types that are associated with the presence of GAC, and grouping of microbial types associated with electroactivity. Bacterial community analysis showed that $-proteobacteria (particularly the PAH-degrading Pseudomonadaceae) dominate all the samples. Rhodocyclaceae- and Comamonadaceae-related OTU were observed to increase in BES cells. The GAC BES (99% removal) outperformed the control graphite GAC chamber, as well as a graphite BES and a control chamber both filled with glass beads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9981-9991
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number10
Early online date09 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2019


  • Bio-electrochemical system (BES)
  • Gasworks-contaminated groundwater
  • Granular activated carbon (GAC)


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