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Health and Environmental Effects Research

GED Scientist Conducts BCR Field Site Visit in Kazakhstan

Richard Devereux is a research microbiologist at NHEERL’s Gulf Ecology Division (GED) Ecosystem Dynamics and Effects Branch in Gulf Breeze, FL, who, along with Wendy Davis-Hoover of NRMRL-Cincinnati, OH, also is the technical advisor to ORD and collaborator on an EPA Office of International Affairs Biochem Redirect (BCR) Program Project in Kazakhstan.

The project investigates microbiological treatment as a means to mitigate mercury-contaminated groundwater in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. Two approaches are under investigation; one using aerobic bacteria, and the other using anaerobic bacteria. Bacteria were isolated from the contaminated site and studied to determine how well they might work to remove mercury from the groundwater in an engineered below-ground system. The project has progressed to the planning stage of conducting trial field experiments.

A field site visit to Kazakhstan was required at this juncture to assess progress, procedures, and facilities associated with the project, especially in the field in Pavlodar. August 15-19, 2010, visits were made to the Almaty Institute of Microbiology and Virology and the Almaty Institute of Power Engineering, where much of the analytical work is taking place. A laboratory has been refurbished and instrumented at the chemical plant in Pavlodar (contaminated site), and its results were evaluated to determine whether the quality assurance plans have been adhered to. Discussions took place in Almaty and Pavlodar on the status of the project and regarding any problems implementing the experimental design of the field experiment.

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