Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is one of the most common groundwater contaminants in Japan. PCE can be completely dechlorinated to ethylene (ETY) and ethane (ETA) by anaerobic microorganisms in the presence of a suitable electron donor. This study was conducted to examine the feasibility of using an anaerobic filter for the degradation of PCE in a bioremediation process. Laboratory-scale anaerobic filters were operated at 25°C using ethanol as the electron donor. Rapid start-up of the reactors was achieved by using anaerobic completely PCE-dechlorinating enrichment cultures as the inoculum. During the continuous operating periods, low concentrations (2.8 mg/L) of PCE were almost completely dechlorinated to ETY and ETA at hydraulic retention times of 49-15 hours with 100 mgCOD/L of ethanol. PCE concentrations as high as 80 mg/L was dechlorinated to ETY with a relatively low supply (200 mgCOD/L) of ethanol. Results of this study suggest that the anaerobic filter system is a feasible bioremediation process for the cleanup of groundwater which is contaminated by chlorinated ethylenes.

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