Reductive Dehalogenation of Chlorinated Methanes by Iron Metal

  • Matheson L
  • Tratnyek P
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Reduction of chlorinated solvents by fine-grained iron metal was studied in well-mixed anaerobic batch systems in order to help assess the utility of this reaction in remediation of contaminated groundwater. Iron sequen- tially dehalogenates carbon tetrachloride via chloroform to methylene chloride. The initial rate of each reaction step was pseudo-first-order in substrate and became substantially slower with each dehalogenation step. Thus, carbon tetrachloride degradation typically occurred in several hours, but no significant reduction of methylene chloride was observed over 1 month. Trichloroethene (TCE) was also dechlorinated by iron, although more slowly than carbon tetrachloride. Increasing the clean surface area of iron greatly increased the rate of carbon tetra- chloride dehalogenation, whereas increasing pH decreased the reduction rate slightly. The reduction of chlorinated methanes in batch model systems appears to be coupled with oxidative dissolution (corrosion) of the iron through a largely diffusion-limited surface reaction.

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