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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Microbial-Mediated Reduction of Perchlorate in Groundwater


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 4, p. 750-754
    Received: Oct 31, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): william.frankenberger@ucr.edu
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  1. David C. Herman and
  2. William T. Frankenberger Jr. *
  1. Dep. of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521.



Perchlorate has been widely used as a propellant in solid rocket fuel, and has recently been identified as a contaminant in both groundwater and surface waters. Perchlorate is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as a potential health risk, and the State of California has set a drinking water action level of 18 µg L−1. Incidents of groundwater contamination have been associated with industrial sites in California and Nevada that have been involved in the manufacturing or testing of solid rocket propellants. Microorganisms have been shown to be capable of reducing perchlorate (Cl O4) to chloride (Cl) and oxygen, thus transforming perchlorate into innocuous end-products. Bioreactor processes for the remediation of perchlorate contaminated wastewater have previously been established. However, these systems were optimized for perchlorate concentrations in the grams per liter range, while groundwater contamination can be a million-fold lower but still exceed the water quality action level. This literature review will focus on microbial-mediated perchlorate reduction, and discuss issues of importance to the remediation of perchlorate-contaminated groundwater.

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