U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in REMEDIATION (Autumn 2004) 5-17. DOI: 10.1002/rem.20018


The evaluation of microbial responses to three in situ source removal remedial technologies— permanganate-based in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO), six-phase heating (SPH), and steam injection (SI)—was performed at Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida. The investigation stemmed from concerns that treatment processes could have a variety of effects on the indigenous biological activity, including reduced biodegradation rates and a long-term disruption of community structure with respect to the stimulation of TCE (trichloroethylene) degraders. The investigation focused on the quantity of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and its distribution to determine the immediate effect of each remedial technology on microbial abundance and community structure, and to establish how rapidly the microbial communities recovered. Comprehensive spatial and temporal PLFA screening data suggested that the technology applications did not significantly alter the site’s microbial community structure. The ISCO was the only technology found to stimulate microbial abundance; however, the biomass returned to predemonstration values shortly after treatment ended. In general, no significant change in the microbial community composition was observed in the SPH or SI treatment areas, and even small changes returned to near initial conditions after the demonstrations.