Application of natural attenuation to ground water contaminated by phenoxy acid herbicides at an old landfill in Sjoelund

Nina Tuxen, P. Ejlskov, Hans-Jørgen Albrechtsen, Lotte Ask Reitzel, J.K. Pedersen, Poul Løgstrup Bjerg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Investigations of geology, hydrogeology, and ground water chemistry in the aquifer downgradient from Sjoelund Landfill, Denmark, formed the basis for an evaluation of natural attenuation as a remediation technology for phenoxy acid herbicides at the site. Concentrations of phenoxy acids were up to 65 mug/L in the ground water, primarily 4-chlor-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxypropionic acid (dichlorprop). Mass removal of the phenoxy acids was shown within 50 to 100 m of the landfill by calculation of contaminant fluxes passing transects at three distances. There was accordance between increasing oxygen concentrations and decreasing phenoxy acid concentrations with distance from the landfill, indicating that aerobic degradation was a major mass removal process. Presence of high concentrations of putative anaerobic phenoxy acid metabolites suggested that anaerobic degradation was also occurring. Laboratory degradation experiments using sediment and ground water from the aquifer supported aerobic and anaerobic degradability of MCPP at the site. It was concluded that natural attenuation may be applicable as a remedy for the phenoxy acids at the Sjoelund Landfill site, although uncertainties related to calculations of chloride and phenoxy acid fluxes at a complex site and identification of specific in situ indicators were encountered. Thus, there is a pronounced need for development and broader experience with evaluation tools for natural attenuation of phenoxy acids, such as specific metabolites, changes in enantiomeric fractions, compound-specific stable carbon isotope ratios, or microbial fingerprints.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGround Water Monitoring & Remediation
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)48-58
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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