Sandra Dworatzek to Present at RPIC 2024 Federal Contaminated Sites Workshop

Sandra Dworatzek (Ontario) will present “Anaerobic Bioremediation Applications for Petroleum Hydrocarbons” at the Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC) Federal Contaminated Sites Workshop on Thursday, June 27, 2024, at 11:50 a.m. EDT. The event will take place virtually and in-person at the JW Marriott in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 26 and 27. Sandra and other SiREM practitioners will be available for discussion at SiREM’s booth in the exhibit hall.

Sandra is a Principal Scientist at SiREM with more than 25 years of experience in bioremediation of chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, emerging contaminants, and other recalcitrant compounds. She has technical experience designing laboratory treatability studies, scaling up growth of aerobic and anaerobic microbial cultures for bioaugmentation laboratory and field pilot tests, and evaluating aerobic and anaerobic bioremediation, zero valent iron, and chemical oxidation technologies in the laboratory. She oversees laboratory treatability studies and the development and scale-up of new bioaugmentation cultures, including novel cultures to address BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) under anaerobic conditions and 1,4-dioxane under aerobic conditions. Sandra is the industry lead on a project funded by Genome Canada to help commercialize anaerobic BTEX-degrading cultures.

The RPIC Federal Contaminated Sites Workshops are the leading professional development events for Canadian federal and industry remediation experts. The workshops support those who help manage federal organization infrastructure and lands, including Canada’s portfolio of contaminated sites. The focus of the 2024 event is management of northern and remote contaminated sites.

The RPIC fosters and enables professional development, knowledge exchange, and continuous learning across the Canadian federal government’s real property community.


Anaerobic Bioremediation Applications for Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are toxic and widespread pollutants owing to releases or spills of petroleum chemicals into the environment. Decades of research has shown that various hydrocarbons including benzene (C6H6), a confirmed carcinogen, can be broken down by both aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms with specialized metabolic capabilities. Benzene-degrading microorganisms are widespread in nature and have the potential to proliferate after a spill event. But as many environmental practitioners will attest, active anaerobic benzene degradation rarely occurs at sites devoid of oxygen. Are anaerobic benzene degraders simply proliferating too slowly to support bioremediation efforts? Are they unable to grow at all? Or are there other factors at play? Results from numerous laboratory treatability studies conducted over the past 7 years has demonstrated enhanced benzene, toluene, and o-xylene biodegradation rates with DGG-PlusTM bioaugmentation and provided information to aid in field pilot-test design. Field pilot testing has shown that degradation rates were accelerated in situ through bioaugmentation as observed in corresponding treatability studies. Multiple field applications (in Canada and the US) where bioaugmentation with the DGG-Plus culture occurred are also being monitored. As with chlorinated solvents, bioaugmentation for BTEX compounds has the potential to decrease remediation times and increase the range of sites to which bioremediation is applicable providing a much-needed, cost-effective alternative for BTEX remediation in groundwater. This presentation will summarize data and highlight several field applications (both pilot and full-scale) where these anaerobic cultures have been applied. Results to date have shown a range of responses to bioaugmentation including complete degradation of BTEX constituents in several cases. Lessons learned will include identifying the potential for application at complex sites where other co-contaminants are present.

More Information

About the event: RPIC 2024 Federal Contaminated Sites Workshop

Event registration details: Federal Contaminated Sited Workshop Registration

For consultation regarding presentations at this event, contact Sandra at