Application of calcium peroxide nano-powder in a bio-barrier for remediation of groundwater oil pollution

Document Type : Original Article


1 Environmental Geology Department, Research Institute of Applied Sciences, ACECR, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Geology Department, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Groundwater pollution occurs during refining processes, transportation, storing, and distribution of oil products. Most of the oil components are insoluble in water, however, there are some components such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (known as BTEX) that are soluble in groundwater. These compounds are carcinomic and categorized as very dangerous pollutants. Permeable bio-barrier (PBB) technologies are extensively used to remove groundwater oil pollution. However, providing oxygen to improve the bioremediation efficiency in groundwater is a challenge. This research aimed to test the application of calcium peroxide nano-particles to provide more dissolved oxygen in a permeable bio-barrier. 
Material and methods:
Pseudomonas sp. BTEX-30 strain isolated from polluted groundwater around Tehran’s oil refining area was used to establish the permeable bio-barrier. Bioremediation kinetics and environmental conditions required for optimum bioremediation of bacteria were evaluated. Calcium peroxide nanoparticles have been synthesized and used for increasing the dissolved oxygen in groundwater. Bio-barrier was simulated using a glass column and Ottava sand as a porous media. The inflow rate was 0.5 ml/s with different toluene concentration for 14 days. Water samples from the inlet and outlet of the bio-barrier were taken during the test and analyzed using GC for defining the toluene concentration. Fate and transport processes in bio-barrier have been simulated by numerical models.
Results and discussion:
There were no significant differences in the toluene concentration between inlet and outlet on day one. Differences in toluene concentration between inlet and outlet started from day two. Bio-barrier showed a good response to increasing and decreasing in inlet concentration stresses after nine days. According to the results, PBB showed the best performance at 30 ppm concentration of inlet. The calculated concentration of toluene by the PBB numerical model showed a very good correlation in most stress periods.         
PBB showed a very good performance for biodegradation of toluene by using calcium peroxide nanoparticles as an oxygen releasing compound.


  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2007. Toxicological profile for xylene, Atlanta, GA. 330. Available online at:
  2. Bianchi-Mosquera, G.C., Allen-King, R.M. and Mackay, D.M., 1994. Enhanced degradation of dissolved benzene and toluene using a solid oxygen-releasing compound. Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation. 14, 120-128.
  3. Brusseau, M.L., Xie, L.H. and Li, L., 1999. Biodegradation during contaminant transport in porous media: 1. mathematical analysis of controlling factors. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 37, 269-293.
  4. Chen, Y., Li, J., Lei, C. and Shim, H., 2011, Interactions between BTEX, TPH, and TCE during their bio-removal from the artificially contaminated water. In proceeding of The Second International Conference on Bioenvironment, Biodiversity and Renewable Energies, 22th -27th May, Venice, Italy. pp. 33–37.
  5. da Silva, M.L.B., Gomez, D.E. and Alvarez, P.J.J., 2013. Analytical model for BTEX natural attenuation in the presence of fuel ethanol and its anaerobic metabolite acetate. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 146, 1-7.
  6. Di Martino, C., Lopez, N.I. and Raiger Iustman, L.J., 2012. Isolation and characterization of benzene, toluene and xylene degrading Pseudomonas sp. selected as candidates for bioremediation. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. 67, 15-20.
  7. Firmino, P.I.M., Farias, R.S., Barros, A.N., Buarque, P.M.C., Rodriguez, E., Lopes, A.C. and dos Santos, A.B., 2015. Understanding the anaerobic BTEX removal in continuous-flow bioreactors for ex situ bioremediation purposes. Chemical Engineering Journal. 281, 272-280.
  8. ITRC, Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council, 2011. Permeable Reactive Barrier: Technology Update. PRB: Technology Update Team, Washington, D.C.
  9. Jin, H.M., Choi, E.J. and Jeon, C.O., 2013. Isolation of a BTEX-degrading bacterium, Janibacter sp. SB2, from a sea-tidal flat and optimization of biodegradation conditions. Bioresource Technology. 145, 57-64.
  10. Johnson, S.J., Woolhouse, K.J., Prommer, H., Barry, D.A. and Christofi, N., 2003. Contribution of anaerobic microbial activity to natural attenuation of benzene in groundwater. Engineering Geology. 70, 343–349.
  11. Kao, C.M., Chen, S.C., Wang, J.Y., Chen, Y.L. and Lee, S.Z., 2003. Remediation of PCE-contaminated aquifer by an in situ two-layer biobarrier: laboratory batch and column studies. Water Research. 37, 27-38.
  12. Khodaei, K., Nassery, H.R., Asadi, M.M., Mohammadzadeh, H. and Mahmoodlu, M.G., 2017. BTEX biodegradation in contaminated groundwater using a novel strain (Pseudomonas sp. BTEX-30). International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. 116, 234-242.
  13. Khodaveisi, J., Banejad, H., Afkhami, A., Olyaie, E., Lashgari, S. and Dashti, R., 2011. Synthesis of calcium peroxide nanoparticles as an innovative reagent for in situ chemical oxidation. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 192, 1437-1440.
  14. Kober, R., Schafer, D., Ebert, M. and Dahmke, A., 2002. Coupled in situ reactors using Fe0 and activated carbon for the remediation of complex contaminant mixtures in groundwater. In: Thornton, S.F., Oswald, S.E. (Eds.), In Proceedings of the Groundwater Quality 2001 Conference. 18th -21th June, Sheffield, UK, pp. 18–21.
  15. Lin, C.W., Wu, C.H., Tang, C.T. and Chang, S.H., 2012. Novel oxygen-releasing immobilized cell beads for bioremediation of BTEX-contaminated water. Bioresource Technology. 124, 45-51.
  16. Liu, S.J., Jiang, B., Huang, G.Q. and Li, X.G., 2006. Laboratory column study for remediation of MTBE-contaminated groundwater using a biological two-layer permeable barrier. Water Research. 40, 3401-3408.
  17. Liu, S.J., Zhao, Z.Y., Li, J., Wang, J. and Qi, Y., 2013. An anaerobic two-layer permeable reactive bio-barrier for the remediation of nitrate contaminated groundwater. Water Research. 47, 5977-5985.
  18. Mahmoodlu, M.G., 2014. Oxidation of volatile organic compound vapors by potassium permanganate in a horizontal permeable reactive barrier under unsaturated conditions; Experiments and modeling. Ph.D. Thesis. Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  19. Nagarajan, K., Loh K.C., 2015. Formulation of microbial cocktails for BTEX biodegradation. Biodegradation. 26, 51-63.
  20. Nasseri, H.M. and Khodaei, K., 2017. Modelling the biodegradation kinetics of BTEX contaminated groundwater. Environmental Sciences. 14(4), 149-164.
  21. Obiri-Nyarko, F., Grajales-Mesa, S.J. and Malina, G., 2014. An overview of permeable reactive barriers for in situ sustainable groundwater remediation. Chemosphere. 111, 243-259.
  22. Ramirez, E.M., Jimenez, C.S., Camacho, J.V., Rodrigo, M.A.R. and Cañizares, P., 2015. Feasibility of Coupling permeable bio-barriers and electro kinetics for the treatment of diesel hydrocarbons polluted soils: Electrochimica Acta. 181, 192-199.
  23. Skinner, S.J. and Schutte, C.F., 2006. The feasibility of a permeable reactive barrier to treat acidic sulphate-and nitrate-contaminated groundwater. Water SA, 32(2), 129-136.
  24. Stasik, S., Wick, L.Y. and Wendt-Potthoff, K., 2015. Anaerobic BTEX degradation in oil sands tailings ponds: Impact of labile organic carbon and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Chemosphere. 138, 133-139.
  25. U.S. EPA, 1995. In Situ Remediation Technology Status Report: Treatment Walls. EPA542-K-94-004, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, p. 145.
  26. Vesela, L., Nemecek, J., Siglova, M. and Kubal, M., 2006. The biofiltration permeable reactive barrier: practical experience from Synthesia. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. 58(3–4), 224–230.
  27. Vezzulli, L., Pruzzo, C. and Fabiano, M., 2004. Response of the bacterial community to in situ bioremediation of organic-rich sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 49, 740-751.
  28. Wilson, R.D., Mackay, D.M. and Scow, K.M., 2001. In situ MTBE biodegradation supported by diffusive oxygen release. Environmental Science Technology, 36(2), 190–199.
  29. Xin, B.P., Wu, C.H., Wu, C.H. and Lin, C.W., 2013. Bioaugmented remediation of high concentration BTEX-contaminated groundwater by permeable reactive barrier with immobilized bead. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 244-245, 765-772.
  30. Yang, X., Fan, L.T. and Erickson, L.E., 1995. A conceptual study on the bio-wall technology: feasibility and process design. Remediation, 6(1), 55–67.
  31. Yeh, C.H., Lin, C.W. and Wu, C.H., 2010. A permeable reactive barrier for the bioremediation of BTEX-contaminated groundwater: microbial community distribution and removal efficiencies. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 178(1–3), 74–80.
  32. Yerushalmi, L., Manuel, M. and Guiot, S., 1999. Biodegradation of gasoline and BTEX in a microaerophilic biobarrier. Biodegradation. 10(5), 341–352.
  33. Zhang, L., Zhang, C., Cheng, Z., Yao, Y. and Chen, J., 2013. Biodegradation of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and o-xylene by the bacterium Mycobacterium cosmeticum byf-4. Chemosphere. 90, 1340-1347.