Reductive dechlorination of chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons in sewage sludge and aquifer sediment microcosms
The reductive transformation of the 10 most-widely distributed fluorinated volatile compounds and of tetrachloroethene was investigated for up to 177 days under anaerobic conditions in sewage sludge and aquifer sediment slurries. Concentrations of parent compounds and of degradation products were identified by GC–MS. We observed transformation of CFC-11 to HCFC-21 and HCFC-31, of CFC-113 to HCFC-123a, chlorotrifluoroethene and trifluoroethene, of CFC-12 to HCFC-22, of HCFC-141b to HCFC-151b, and of tetrachloroethene to vinyl chloride and ethene. CFC-114, CFC-115, HCFC-142b, HFC-134a and HCFC-22 were not transformed. The results suggest that with both inocula studied here, hydrogenolysis is the primary reductive dechlorination reaction. CFC-113 was the only compound where a dichloro-elimination was observed, leading to the formation of chlorotrifluoroethene as temporal intermediate and to trifluoroethene as end product. The relative reduction rates of chlorofluoromethanes compared reasonably well with theoretical rates calculated based on thermochemical data according to the Marcus theory. Some of the accumulating HCFCs and haloethenes observed in this study are toxic and may be of practical relevance in anaerobic environments.