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About Bioremediation

Bioremediation is a process used to clean up soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and other hazardous compounds. In the bioremediation process, indigenous microbes (biomass) and microbial inoculants degrade contaminants and detoxify the soil. The byproducts resulting from this process are carbon dioxide and water. In short, bioremediation takes contaminated soil and converts the contaminants into non hazardous substances.

Both insitu and exsitu bioremediation can be carried out at the contaminated site i.e. old gas stations,  tank farms, abandoned referineries, pump stations, etc. Soil is placed in containment cells in rows 12 to 18 inches deep. Microbial inoculants, nutrients, biostimulants, water, etc. are applied with the aid of sprinkler apparatus. Devices, located under the soil, recover leached contaminants and provide aeration for the microbes. Oxygen transfer is optimized by tilling the soil at 7 to 10 day intervals depending on environmental conditions, microbial activity, management process, etc.

Bioremediation is an economical and safe method for cleaning up oil spills and bioremediating soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and dangerous organic compounds. The bioremediation process utilizes beneficial microbes, surfactants, micronutrients and bio-stimulants to decompose contaminants transforming them into harmless byproducts, i.e. water and carbon dioxide. 

The bioremediation process can be performed insitu or exsitu. The insitu process is adopted where excavation is impractical and involves either bio-stimulation or bio-augmentation.

Biostimulation involves aeration and the application of selected micronutrients and bio-stimulants. Bio-stimulation alone is only effective when indigenous microbial populations, present in the substrate, are high enough to degrade the contaminants and when these microbes can readily adapt to foreign contaminants.

Bioaugmentation involves the application of beneficial microbes, that have an affinity towards a specific contaminant. Typically, these microbes are suspended by a stabilizing agent and lie dormant in a spore until activated in solution and applied together with micronutrients and bio stimulants. 

BIOREMEDIATION can effectively degrade the following contaminants:

Hydrocarbons with carbon chains ranging from C-5 to C-40
Benzene, Xylene, Toluene etc.
TCE
PAH
PCB and other chlorinated compounds
Fuel oils
Fossil fuels - Gasoline, Diesel, Aviation gas
Condensate - leakage from pipelines
Glycols

DATA needed to develop a bioremediation protocol:

  • Age of the spill
  • Spill volume (estimate)
  • Localization
  • Soil Type 
  • Soil porosity 
  • Depth of contamination
  • Area affected by spill (A map of the area including adjacent infrastructure if available)
  • Proximity to ground water
  • Proximity to water wells
  • Average ambient temperatures 
  • Soil pH 
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil moisture level
  • Oxygen availability
  • TPH (total petroleum hydrocarbons)
  • Viscosity and volatility of contaminants (If available)

NOTE: For excavated diesel contaminated soil, a composite sample should be collected for every 200 cubic yards of material excavated. For diesel contaminated soil still in place, samples should be collected every 20 linear feet, or in accordance with an approved grid.

About Bio-venting

EC-2100P for Oil Spill Cleanup

"Serious problems cannot be dealt with at the level of thinking that created them."
 Albert Einstein
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