Groundwater remediation project to remove perchlorate at Nevada industrial site

May 4, 2011
KINGWOOD, TX, May 4, 2011 -- Envirogen Technologies will provide a large-scale fluidized bed bioreactor (FBR) system for the biodegradation of perchlorate and other constituents from groundwater in the area of a former manufacturing facility in Henderson, Nevada...

KINGWOOD, TX, May 4, 2011 -- Under a new contract with American Pacific Corporation, Envirogen Technologies will provide a large-scale fluidized bed bioreactor (FBR) system for the biodegradation of perchlorate and other constituents from groundwater in the area of a former manufacturing facility in Henderson, Nevada.

The system will have the capacity to treat 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD) and will replace a smaller biological-based system in operation since 2006.

The system will utilize Envirogen's patented FBR technology in a custom configuration to reduce influent concentrations of perchlorate to non-detectable levels prior to surface discharge. Currently in the design phase, the new treatment system is scheduled for start-up in December 2011.

According to Robert Stark, South Region Vice President for Envirogen, this latest project underscores increasing industry awareness and acceptance of the FBR as a reliable and environmentally sustainable solution to groundwater remediation needs. "This innovative 'green' technology continues to distinguish itself as the best answer to heavily perchlorate-laden groundwater in both remediation and drinking water applications. In this instance, we are targeting perchlorate as the primary contaminant, but are able to remove both chlorate and nitrate with the same process," Stark said.

"With a number of installations providing trouble-free operation over the past 13 years, the FBR's benefits are well-proven. These systems are designed to provide robust treatment in a small footprint, with acceptable waste rates and reduced energy and chemical consumption. The technology's flexibility to handle multiple constituents and varying flow characteristics also bodes well for its potential to treat other significant emerging contaminants such as selenium, hexavalent chromium or chlorinated solvents," he continued.

According to Joseph Carleone, President and CEO of AMPAC, the decision to go with Envirogen for this perchlorate treatment facility was based on the company's track record and its commitment to performance. "We are very pleased with the Envirogen equipment, which treats organic waste streams at our Sacramento facility, and are looking forward to working with them on our Henderson, Nevada, project," he said

Perchlorate is a highly soluble anion that is used in the manufacture of solid rocket propellant, fireworks, road flares, explosives and other products. Envirogen's FBR is a fixed-film bioreactor in which biological media is suspended, or fluidized, within the reactor vessel by the upward flow of water through the system. The suspended media provides a large surface area for microbial growth and allows a biomass density several times greater than that of other bioreactor designs under similar loading conditions. Microorganisms in the reactor completely destroy influent perchlorate and other targeted contaminants under anoxic conditions, without generating hazardous waste by-products.

The new system being designed and built for AMPAC by Envirogen will consist of three FBRs and an H-120 biofilter for odor control. The facility will remove up to 500 parts per million (ppm) of perchlorate in the groundwater to non-detectable levels and, depending on the load, treat up to 800 gallons per minute (gpm). Envirogen will also provide installation oversight and customer support through the training and start-up phases of system implementation.

According to Jeff Gibson, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of AMPAC, the choice of FBR technology comes after a thorough technical evaluation. "Based on our experience since 2006 with a smaller, full-scale in-situ biological-based technology, we chose the ex-situ biologically-based fluidized bed reactor technology because it should allow us to achieve remedial goals that have changed since 2005. Working with the State of Nevada, Division of Environmental Protection, we believe we have formulated a plan to use the Envirogen FBR technology in a manner beneficial to the State of Nevada over the long term," he said.

According to Stark, Envirogen's extensive experience in developing the FBR technology and treating perchlorate contamination provides a strong foundation for the company's continued activity in this arena. "Envirogen came in on the ground floor in 1997, adapting our technologies to the remediation of significant perchlorate plumes in California," Stark said. "Along the way, we've gained superior expertise in system control and optimization, enabling us to offer our customers the most efficient performance possible at a low lifecycle cost. From ion exchange systems for low-perchlorate-concentration drinking water applications to major groundwater remediation projects that utilize the FBR, we offer a range of tools and the knowledge to make them work to their full potential. And, we stand by our technology with the best guaranteed-performance service programs in the business," Stark concluded. For more information, visit


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