Laboratory- and pilot-scale studies were conducted in order to adjust and optimize the in-situ conditions for bioremediation of a soil contaminated with trichlororethene (TCE) and nickel. Results from laboratory studies showed that the indigenous microorganisms of the soil were limited by the type of electron donor. A better TCE dechlorination was obtained when the electron donor was composed of a mixture of methanol and lactate, as compared to that with methanol alone. Addition of up to 10 mM of sulphate as external electron acceptor (in combination with TCE) and with a mixture of methanol and lactate as electron donor had no significant effect on the TCE reducing activity of indigenous microorganisms of the soil, while higher concentrations (15 and 20 mM) yielded a lower dechlorination. Long term operation of a large pilot-scale soil reactor demonstrated the feasibility of a single-process in situ soil remediation. Results showed that, on one hand, TCE was progressively and stepwise reduced to cis-dichloroethene (DCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and finally to ethene, using only the indigenous microorganisms of the soil. On the other hand, stimulating the activity of sulphate-reducing bacteria of the soil with the addition of sulphate as electron acceptor was efficient in precipitating nickel as nickel sulphide.

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