Trace‐Organics Biodegradation in Aquifer Recharge

Bruce E. Rittmann, Perry L. McCarty, Paul V. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The low organic concentration and high specific surface area that characterize ground‐water recharge environments allow biofilms to predominate microbial kinetics. Consideration of the kinetics of substrate utilization and growth of biofilms indicates that microbiological activity occurs very near the injection well. The aggregate substrate expressed, for example, as chemical oxygen demand, can be considered the primary substrate; the biofilm's growth is supported through the utilization of the aggregate primary substrate. Individual trace organic compounds, none of which could support biofilm growth alone, are utilized as secondary substrates. Although biodegradable, secondary substrates that have slow utilization kinetics will pass through the biologically active zone undegraded. Field data from the ground‐water recharge project in Palo Alto, California, illustrate that naphthalene and heptaldehyde are biodegraded, while other compounds, such as chloroform and chlorobenzene, pass through the biologically active zone without biodegradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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