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Mathematical modeling of biowall reactors for in-situ groundwater treatment

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  • In this paper we develop a comprehensive model for the remediation of contaminated groundwater in a passive, in-ground reactor, generally known as a biowall. The model is based on our understanding of the component transport and biokinetic processes that occur as water passes through a bed of inert particles on which a biofilm containing active microbial degraders, typically aerobic bacteria, is developing. We give a detailed derivation of the model based on accepted engineering formulations that account for the mass transport of the contaminant (substrate) to the surface of the biofilm, its diffusion into the biofilm to the proximity of a microbe, and its subsequent destruction within that degrader. The model has been solved numerically and incorporated in a robust computer code. Based on representative input values, the results of varying key parameters in the model are presented. The relation between biofilm growth and biowall performance is explored, revealing that the amount of biomass and its distribution within the biowall are key parameters affecting contaminant removal.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: 35K57, 65M99, and 92B99.

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