The Role of Dissolved Organic Carbon and Preadaptation in the Biotransformation of Trace Organic Chemicals during Aquifer Recharge and Recovery

  • Mohamed Ouf

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Aquifer recharge and recovery (ARR) is a low-cost and environmentally-friendly treatment technology which uses conventionally treated wastewater effluent for groundwater recharge and subsequent recovery for agricultural, industrial or drinking water uses. This study investigated the effect of different dissolved organic carbon (DOC) composition in wastewater effluent on the fate of trace organic chemicals (TOrCs) during ARR. Four biologically active columns were setup receiving synthetic wastewater effluent with varying DOC compositions. The difference in DOC composition triggered variations in the microbial community’s diversity and hence its ability to degrade TOrCs. It was found that the presence of protein-like DOC enhances the removal of DOC in comparison with the presence of humic-like DOC. On the other hand, the presence of humic-like DOC, which is more difficult to degrade, improved the removal of several degradable TOrCs. Other column experiments were also carried out to investigate the role of previous and continuous exposure to TOrCs in their removal. The use of soil pre-exposed to low concentrations of TOrCs and DOC provided better removal of both DOC and TOrCs. The findings of this study suggest that the presence of more humic-like DOC in the effluent enhances the biotransformation of TOrCs during ARR. In addition, long exposure to both DOC and TOrCs increases the degree of their removal over time
Date of AwardMay 2012
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorGary Amy (Supervisor)


  • Aquifer
  • Recharge
  • Carbon
  • Organic
  • Recovery
  • Dissolved

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