Denitrification in laboratory sand columns: Carbon regime, gas accumulation and hydraulic properties

M. Inês, Carol Braester, Shimshon Belkin, Aharon Abeliovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Microbiological denitrification in a sandy matrix was studied by means of laboratory sand columns operated at continuous and pulse feed regimes. Gas production resulting from the biological activity played a major role in modifying the hydraulic properties of the column, leading to decreases in hydraulic conductivity and porosity, higher water velocities through the column, higher dispersion and anomalies in the head difference to flow rates ratios. All of these effects were more pronounced when formate, the carbon source used, was supplied continuously: microbial activity and gas production were concentrated at the top of the column, leading to almost complete clogging. When the formate was supplied in pulses, activity and gas production were dispersed, leading to relative uniformity in the physical parameters measured and a homogeneous appearance of the column. The results suggest that in a future in situ aquifer denitrification plant, pulse application of the carbon source is prefereable to a continuous supply regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1991


  • clogging
  • denitrification
  • hydraulic conductivity
  • in situ aquifer restoration
  • nitrate contamination
  • porosity
  • sand columns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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