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.
- Bio-electrochemical system (BES)
- Gasworks-contaminated groundwater
- Granular activated carbon (GAC)
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of PhilosophyFile