Microcosms in Situ for Stimulation of bioremediation

Related theme: Sustainable remediation 

Project information


Client: ADEME

TAUW contact person:

  • Sébastien Kaskassian



Challenge – Food for thought

There are a number of bacteria that help degrade chlorinated solvents in groundwater and one particular strain that can fully break down these pollutants. This study focused on what carbon substrate stimulates the growth of these micro-organisms already present in the groundwater and how to monitor their remediation effect.

The TAUW team conducted extensive studies which yielded a large amount of data. The challenge lay in interpreting the data, narrowing it down and coming up with a practical solution which the client could apply in the field.

Solution – The cylinder

Instead of injecting the nutrients in the water, as is normal practice in bioremediation, the team installed wells and designed a special sampling and monitoring device. The device was a cylinder consisting of three vertical sections. The top section contained the control group, the other two held varying amounts of carbon substrate to stimulate the growth of bacteria. In the test, four cylinders were placed in wells and each cylinder removed after a month; the last cylinder staying submerged for four months.


Impact – Lower carbon footprint, longer effect

Nature-based solutions are often considered less effective. However, by developing a scientific system with parameters that can be controlled, it is easier to compare remediation solutions. The chemical reactants that are otherwise used have a higher carbon footprint, are more costly to produce and need to be reapplied in order to work. This study helps to promote the effective use of bacteria in nature-based remediation which has a lower carbon footprint, is more stable and has a far longer effect.


TAUW remediation specialists partnered with the University Ecole Centrale de Lyon for the lab work and worked productively with the contracting parties ADEME environmental agency.

“ADEME positively supports the scientific and technical insights that were implemented by the consortium for the development of the MISS device. It meets end-users' needs to secure and offer reliable designs in bioremediation. It is particularly important for managing complex sites where remedial alternatives can prove very expensive.”

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