Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Scherer, Michelle M.

First Committee Member

Just, Craig

Second Committee Member

Latta, Drew E.


For this study, we revisited whether the common iron Fe mineral, magnetite Fe3O4 (s), can reduce tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) as discrepancies exist in the literature regarding rates and extent of reduction. We measured PCE and TCE reduction in batch reactors as a function of magnetite stoichiometry (x = Fe2+/Fe3+ ratio), solids loading, pH, and Fe(II) concentration. Our results show that magnetite reacts only slowly with TCE (t1/2 = 7.6 years) and is not reactive with PCE over 150 days. The addition of aqueous Fe(II) to magnetite suspensions, however, results in slow, but measurable PCE and TCE reduction under some conditions. The solubility of ferrous hydroxide, Fe(OH)2(s), appears to play an important role in whether magnetite reduces PCE and TCE. In addition, we found that Fe(OH)2(s) reduces PCE and TCE at high Fe(II) concentrations as well. At certain conditions degradation of the PCE and TCE is enhanced by an unexplored synergistic response from magnetite and ferrous hydroxide iron phases. Our work suggests that measuring dissolved Fe(II) concentration and pH may be used as indicators to predict whether PCE and TCE will be abiotically degraded by groundwater aquifer solids containing magnetite.


Ferrous hydroxide, Magnetite, Monitored natural attenuation, Reductive dechlorination, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene


x, 61 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-61).


Copyright © 2017 Johnathan D. Culpepper