The activity of hydrogen sulfide oxidizing bacteria within corroded concrete from a sewer manhole was investigated. The bacteria were exposed to hydrogen sulfide starvation for up till 18 months, upon which their hydrogen sulfide oxidizing activity was measured. It was tested whether the observed reduction in biological activity was caused by a biological lag phase or by decay of the bacteria. The results showed that the bacterial activity declined with approximately 40% pr. month during the first two months of hydrogen sulfide starvation. After 2–3 months of starvation, the activity stabilized. Even after 6 months of starvation, exposure to hydrogen sulfide for 6 hours a day on three successive days could restore the bacteriological activity to about 80% of the initial activity. After 12 months of starvation, the activity could, however, not be restored, and after 18 months the biological activity approached zero. The long-term survival aspect of concrete corroding bacteria has implications for predicting hydrogen sulfide corrosion in sewer systems subject to irregular hydrogen sulfide loadings, e.g. as they occur in temperate climates where hydrogen sulfide often is a summer-problem only.

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