ESI, now part of Stantec, played an integral role in project SABRE, a five-year collaborative project undertaken by a multidisciplinary team from the UK, USA, and Canada, supported through the DTI Bioremediation LINK programme. We were responsible for the dissemination of knowledge arising from the research and also for the overall project management.
SABRE comprises laboratory and field-pilot scale development of an accelerated anaerobic bioremediation process for free-phase chlorinated solvent contamination in groundwater. A UK test site contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) was used to undertake the project. The project was undertaken by an international, multidisciplinary team of highly skilled and experienced individuals from both industrial and academic organisations:
Shell Global Solutions
British Geological Survey
University of Edinburgh
University of Sheffield
Chlorinated solvents have been used in large quantities by a diverse range of industries (including chemicals production, metalworking, automotive, aerospace, electronics and dry cleaning). They are consequently extremely common environmental contaminants.
Chlorinated solvent releases into the sub-surface may result in the existence of free-phase chlorinated solvent contamination (“DNAPL”), which will persist for decades and act as long-term sources of groundwater contamination. Remediation can, therefore, be important but is usually very expensive and of uncertain result.
Under anaerobic conditions dehalorespiring bacteria can use many chlorinated solvents for respiration, which can ultimately yield the innocuous end-product ethene. This process is effective even in the presence of chlorinated solvent DNAPL and may occur more efficiently.
To apply this biodegradation for free-phase chlorinated solvents within the subsurface, it is necessary to optimise conditions in the subsurface for the dehalorespiring bacteria, for example through the supply of organic carbon and energy sources and inorganic nutrients. The SABRE project evaluated and developed the most efficient method for doing this using appropriate monitoring to reduce uncertainty in demonstrating technology performance.
SABRE took place from 2004 to 2008 and involved combined laboratory and field development testing of the bioremediation technology. The following Work Packages were undertaken:
SABRE is a CL:AIRE Technology Demonstration Project. Project progress and results were disseminated through a variety of channels, including:
SABRE was supported through the UK DTI Bioremediation LINK programme. The project was funded through in-kind and direct financial contributions from the participating organisations and by BBSRC, DTI, the Environment Agency, EPSRC and NERC.