Influence of hydrobiogeochemistry on transport of chromium through manganese -containing sediments: Experimental and modeling approaches

Hillol Guha, Florida International University


Chromium (Cr) is a metal of particular environmental concern, owing to its toxicity and widespread occurrence in groundwater, soil, and soil solution. A combination of hydrological, geochemical, and microbiological processes governs the subsurface migration of Cr. Little effort has been devoted to examining how these biogeochemical reactions combine with hydrologic processes influence Cr migration. This study has focused on the complex problem of predicting the Cr transport in laboratory column experiments. A 1-D reactive transport model was developed and evaluated against data obtained from laboratory column experiments. A series of dynamic laboratory column experiments were conducted under abiotic and biotic conditions. Cr(III) was injected into columns packed with β-MnO 2-coated sand at different initial concentrations, variable flow rates, and at two different pore water pH (3.0 and 4.0). In biotic anaerobic column experiments Cr(VI) along with lactate was injected into columns packed with quartz sand or β-MnO2-coated sand and bacteria, Shewanella alga Simidu (BrY-MT). A mathematical model was developed which included advection-dispersion equations for the movement of Cr(III), Cr(VI), dissolved oxygen, lactate, and biomass. The model included first-order rate laws governing the adsorption of each Cr species and lactate. The equations for transport and adsorption were coupled with nonlinear equations for rate-limited oxidation-reduction reactions along with dual-monod kinetic equations. Kinetic batch experiments were conducted to determine the reduction of Cr(VI) by BrY-MT in three different substrates. Results of the column experiments with Cr(III)-containing influent solutions demonstrate that β-MnO2 effectively catalyzes the oxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI). For a given influent concentration and pore water velocity, oxidation rates are higher, and hence effluent concentrations of Cr(VI) are greater, at pH 4 relative to pH 3. Reduction of Cr(VI) by BrY-MT was rapid (within one hour) in columns packed with quartz sand, whereas Cr(VI) reduction by BrY-MT was delayed (57 hours) in presence of β-MnO 2-coated sand. BrY-MT grown in BHIB (brain heart infusion broth) reduced maximum amount of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) followed by TSB (tryptic soy broth) and M9 (minimum media). The comparisons of data and model results from the column experiments show that the depths associated with Cr(III) oxidation and transport within sediments of shallow aquatic systems can strongly influence trends in surface water quality. The results of this study suggests that carefully performed, laboratory column experiments is a useful tool in determining the biotransformation of redox-sensitive metals even in the presence of strong oxidant, like β-MnO2.

Subject Area

Biogeochemistry|Environmental science|Hydrology

Recommended Citation

Guha, Hillol, "Influence of hydrobiogeochemistry on transport of chromium through manganese -containing sediments: Experimental and modeling approaches" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9975007.