Dave Himmelheber, Ph.D. (Columbia, MD) has co-authored the publication “Evaluation of a Laboratory-Scale Bioreactive In Situ Sediment Cap for the Treatment of Organic Contaminants”, to appear in the November 2011 issue of Water Research. The paper documents the construction of a laboratory-scale bioreactive sediment cap designed to biotransform dissolved organic contaminants, specifically chlorinated ethenes, to environmentally-acceptable end products. The experiments assessed the feasibility of the treatment approach, which is particularly applicable at locations where contaminated groundwater seeps discharge through aquatic sediments and into surface waters. Biological communities imbedded within the in situ sediment cap catalyze the transformation of chlorinated ethenes to non-toxic ethene before the contaminated groundwater exits the bioreactive cap. Results of the experiments suggest that in situ bioreactive capping can be a feasible remedial approach, provided that residence times are adequate and that appropriate levels of electron donor and contaminant exist within the cap. The publication builds on previous research reported by the authors demonstrating that anaerobic biogeochemical processes develop within in situ sediment caps.
Dave earned his BS in chemistry from Salisbury University and his MS and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dave’s co-authors were Kurt D. Pennell, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University, and Joseph B. Hughes, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The research presented in the article was part of his doctoral work focused on biogeochemical and bioattenuation processes following in situ capping of contaminated sediments. Dave and his co-authors have worked together in publishing four peer-reviewed journal articles, a book chapter, and several conference presentations. The article is available for purchase through: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135411003575?.