Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Anaerobic Biodegradation of PCB/PAH Contaminated Soils:Anaerobic Biodegrad. of PCB/PAH contaminated soils(ST6111-1)

Geovation Consultants, Inc.


As a result of past industrial activities and land usage, many sites within New York State contain soils, sludges and sediments contaminated with varying concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Recent trends in scientific literature have provided mounting evidence that many different types of microorganisms can dechlorinate and/or degrade a variety of chlorinated-organic compounds under anaerobic conditions. Geovation Consultants, Inc. (the Contractor) will apply its anaerobic/denitrification-based bioremediation technology to the contaminated materials contained in an existing land-treatment unit (LTU) established by Alcoa in 1995 at its facilities in Massena, NY. There are four LTUs, each 3 feet by 30 feet, and about 2 feet deep. LTU No. 3 will be uncovered, the baseline condition determined, and additional sludge will be tilled into the old sludge/sand layer.

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Project Description

Geovation conducted three sampling events through September 1999 to May 2000. During this period the LTU was to be covered and watered by the host facility. Samples were analyzed for total extractable hydrocarbons, PAHs, PCB aroclors and PCB congeners, via the EPA Green Bay Method.


The difficulties encountered in this field experiment and the lack of certainty in the results did not allow for an analysis of potential benefits.

Project Results

Both PAHs and PCBs were reduced to a greater extent in the treated case compared to the untreated, despite less than optimal conditions. Using the Green Bay Method for PCBs, samples from the treated LTU decreased by about 14%, while the untreated decreased by 6% between day 34 and day 245 of the experiment. Although a small but measurable difference was observed, this finding cannot be made with statistical certainty based on this limited study. The pattern of PCB reduction showed reduction for mono- through deca-substituted congeners, which is atypical of selective dechlorination and was interpreted as evidence of co-metabolic biodegradation processes. Geovation has shared the results of the field experiment with potential clients to advance its environmental services business.


Geovation Consultants, Inc.
P.O. Box 293
Florida, NY 10921

Principle Investigator

Eric Christian Hince

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Waste Management and Pollution Prevention
Waste management

NYSERDA Contact Information

Barry Liebowitz


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST6111-1

Last Updated: 6/28/2013