Document Detail

Definition, objectives, and evaluation of natural attenuation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15562993     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Natural attenuation offers large benefits to owners and managers of contaminated sites, but often raises strong objections from those who live and work near a site and are asked to assume most of the long-term risks. Part of the controversy comes about because published definitions of natural attenuation do not identify a realistic end-point objective, and they also are ambiguous about the naturally occurring processes that can achieve the objective. According to guidance from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC 2000), destruction and strong immobilization are the naturally occurring processes that achieve a realistic objective: containing the contaminant relatively nears its source, thereby minimizing exposure risks. The strategy for obtaining solid evidence that the objective is being achieved requires measurements that establish a cause-and-effect relationship between contaminant loss and a destruction or strong-immobilization reaction. The cause-and-effect relationship is best documented with reaction footprints, which typically are concentration changes in reactants or products of the destruction or immobilization reaction. MTBE presents a contemporary example in which footprint evidence for biodegradation is especially crucial, since aerobic biodegradation of MTBE requires special conditions not present at all sites: a high availability of dissolved oxygen and bacteria expressing particular oxygenase enzymes.
Bruce E Rittmann
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biodegradation     Volume:  15     ISSN:  0923-9820     ISO Abbreviation:  Biodegradation     Publication Date:  2004 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-11-25     Completed Date:  2005-01-31     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9100834     Medline TA:  Biodegradation     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  349-57     Citation Subset:  IM    
Northwestern University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Evanston, IL 60208-3109, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Bacteria / metabolism
Biodegradation, Environmental*
Hazardous Substances / metabolism
Methyl Ethers / metabolism
Risk Management
Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hazardous Substances; 0/Methyl Ethers; 0/Water Pollutants, Chemical; 1634-04-4/methyl tert-butyl ether

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