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SBIR Phase II: Field Demonstration of a Novel Biotechnology for In-Situ Bioremediation of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) in Groundwater

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0450486
Agency Tracking Number: 0319959
Amount: $99,942.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2003
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
12313 West 126th Street, Overland Park, KS, 66213
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Fatemeh Shirazi
 (913) 696-9934
Business Contact
 Fatemeh Shirazi
Title: Dr
Phone: (913) 897-4447
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop a novel process for in-situ bioremediation of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers MTBE a potential human carcinogen. Currently, MTBE's Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) in drinking water has been set for 18 parts per billion. It is estimated that the cost of cleaning up MTBE contamination nationwide is $29 billion and growing. Bioremediation holds a great promise for destruction of MTBE in groundwater. The key problems with currently used bioremediation methods for MTBE are (1) the inability to establish high densities of MTBE- degrading bacterial, (2) the inability to maintain contact between the degrading bacteria and MTBE, and (3) the upsets and losses of key bacteria. Prior Phase I work has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of a new technical approach called Biological Permeable Barrier (BPB) that uses encapsulated MTBE-degrading bacteria for removal of MTBE in water. The primary objective for the Phase II project is to assess the long-term performance of a BPB field pilot unit to remove MTBE at Port Hueneme Navy site, and to assess the cost and performance of the BPB / MicroBeads system for longer periods of time under field conditions. The novelties of this technical approach are four folds : (1) the proposed system will deliver high cell density of MTBE-degrading bacteria right to the zone of contamination; (2) the proposed system will create the perfect environment for bacteria with a high degree of degradation and stability; (3) the proposed system will protect the bacteria against environmental stresses; and, (4) the proposed system will prevent wash out of key bacteria. It is anticipated that the proposed BPB pilot scale unit at Port Hueneme will effectively degrade MTBE and other contaminants in groundwater to non-detectable levels. The immediate commercial application of this project will be on the bioremediation of MTBE in groundwater. However, the proposed technology holds promise for effective, controlled and cost efficient cleanup of groundwater at sites contaminated with other toxic and polluting chemicals as well. Other potential applications include the treatment of industrial wastewater and drinking water.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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