Electro-bioremediation of contaminated sediment by electrode enhanced capping

Fei Yan, Danny Reible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In-situ capping often eliminates or slows natural degradation of hydrocarbon due to the reducing conditions in the sediments. The purpose of this research was to demonstrate a reactive capping technique, an electrode enhanced cap, to produce favorable conditions for hydrocarbon degradation and evaluate this reactive capping technique for contaminated sediment remediation. Two graphite electrodes were placed horizontally at different layers in a cap and connected to external power of 2V. Redox potentials increased and pH decreased around the anode. Phenanthrene concentration decreased and PAH degradation genes increased in the vicinity of the anode. Phenanthrene concentrations at 0-1cm sediment beneath the anode decreased to ~50% of initial concentration over ~70 days, while phenanthrene levels in control reactor kept unchanged. A degradation model of electrode enhanced capping was developed to simulate reaction-diffusion processes, and model results show that a reaction-dominated region was created in the vicinity of the anode. Although the degradation dominated region was thin, transport processes in a sediment cap environment are typically sufficiently slow to allow this layer to serve as a permeable reactive barrier for hydrocarbon decontamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - May 5 2015


  • Bioremediation
  • Capping
  • Electrochemistry
  • PAHs
  • Sediment


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