Geophysical Monitoring of Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Soils Remediated with a Bioelectrochemical System

Deqiang Mao, Lu Lu, André Revil, Yi Zuo, John Hinton, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Efficient noninvasive techniques are desired for monitoring the remediation process of contaminated soils. We applied the direct current resistivity technique to image conductivity changes in sandbox experiments where two sandy and clayey soils were initially contaminated with diesel hydrocarbon. The experiments were conducted over a 230 day period. The removal of hydrocarbon was enhanced by a bioelectrochemical system (BES) and the electrical potentials of the BES reactors were also monitored during the course of the experiment. We found that the variation in electrical conductivity shown in the tomograms correlate well with diesel removal from the sandy soil, but this is not the case with the clayey soil. The clayey soil is characterized by a larger specific surface area and therefore a larger surface conductivity. In sandy soil, the removal of the diesel and products from degradation leads to an increase in electrical conductivity during the first 69 days. This is expected since diesel is electrically insulating. For both soils, the activity of BES reactors is moderately imaged by the inverted conductivity tomogram of the reactor. An increase in current production by electrochemically active bacteria activity corresponds to an increase in conductivity of the reactor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8205-8213
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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