OIL SPILL CLEANUP
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
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.
involves aeration and the application of
selected micronutrients and bio-stimulants. Bio-stimulation 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
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.
can effectively degrade the following contaminants:
Hydrocarbons with carbon chains ranging from
C-5 to C-40
Benzene, xylene and toluene
PCB and other chlorinated compounds
Fossil fuels - gasoline, diesel, aviation gas
- leakage from pipelines
Thorough degradation in a relatively
narrow time window.
Reduced risk / higher
degree of safety
labor and equipment costs
to develop a proper bioremediation protocol
Age of the
Viscosity and volatility of
Soil moisture level
DNF (hazardous waste)
High levels of
aromatics could not access the affected area without protective
equipment. In order to suppress toxic vapours, a microbial
together with surfactants, biostimulants and
nutrients was applied to the soil. An analysis, revealed that the benzene level
dropped from 60 to 10 ppm in approximately 5 minutes. After a
second application the concentration of the aromatic contaminants
were below the detection limit within another 5 minutes.
Vapors, resulting from this spill, created an explosion and respiratory hazard. A
microbial formulation was applied to the affected area.
The vapors were suppressed immediately upon application and, in
a relatively short period, the contaminant was digested.
Subsequent cleanup was not necessary.
SURROUNDING SOIL CONTAMINATED WITH DIESEL
The free diesel was pumped out of the pipe and a microbial
formulation was applied to digest the residual contaminants. The same product,
together with bio-stimulants and micronutrients, was applied to the soil.
after the initial treatment, TPH levels dropped from
low thousands to low hundreds. In one case TPH levels dropped to 43 ppm.
SPILL IN A TANK FIELD
The crude oil was pumped out and the soil and grassy area treated with a
microbial formulation together with micronutrients and
bio-stimulants. Eight weeks after the initial application, TPH levels dropped from
low thousands to low hundreds. In one case TPH levels dropped to 39
IN A PIPE
diesel was pumped out and a biological formulation together
with a bio-stimulant was applied to degrade any remaining
contaminant. Within 4 weeks TPH levels dropped from a range of
25,000 - 57,000 ppm to a range of 600 - 9,900 ppm.
UNDERNEATH A STORAGE TANK, WAS CONTAMINATED WITH GASOLINE DUE TO
A LEAK IN THE TANK BOTTOM
The remaining alkylate (gasoline blend) was removed from the
tank and a biological liquid was introduced into the tank and allowed
through the same path as the alkylate. Within three weeks, the
TPH levels, in the soil underneath the tank, was reduced from a range of
200 - 600 ppm to a
range of 30 -130 ppm.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO ACCIDENTAL
A suction drum on a compressor began to fill with
oil and had to be drained to the
contaminated sewer to protect the equipment. Typically, this would not
pose a problem, since the contaminated sewer enters an
oil/water separator where the oil is captured. However,
unknown to the technicians, the oil contained entrained
hydrocarbons which broke free of the oil resulting in a gas
release, when the oil entered the sewer system. To mitigate this problem and reduce the threat of
fire and explosion, a microbial formulation was applied to the sewer.
Within two hours of application, the
hydrocarbons were reduced to non-detectable levels.
RESPONSE TO MTBE SPILL
An MTBE tanker was overfilled when the
automatic shutoff valve failed. The loading rack was equipped
with a secondary containment system that drained to a holding
pond. The amount of MTBE collected by the system was estimated
to be approximately 2,400 litres. While the MTBE was contained,
the vapours from the containment system were both irritating to
personnel in the vicinity and explosive. A hand line and eductor
were used to apply a microbial formulation to the pond.
Within one hour, the vapours were detectable only within a few
feet of the pond. An additional amount of product was applied to
the pond at that time. One hour later MTBE levels in the pond
OIL UNDERNEATH BASEMENT FLOOR
Analysis revealed a total petroleum hydrocarbon level
of 4,500 ppm in the soil underneath the basement floor.
Bioremediation was carried out by drilling a series of holes into
the affected area and injecting a microbial formulation together
with nutrients and bio-stimulants. Immediately after application the contaminant levels in the
affected area began to drop and, after five months, with the
exception of one small area made up of hard-pan soil, the total
petroleum hydrocarbon level was reduced to less than 500 ppm.
CLEANING DISTILLATION TOWERS
Typically, preparing towers for turnaround, using
conventional methods, is labor intensive. Standard procedures
call for the towers to be washed with water and drained
several times, steamed and wash again. Under certain
conditions, towers that have gone thru an intensive cleaning
process, will contain elevated levels of contaminants.
Treatments were carried out
using biological products including, surfactants, micronutrients
and bio-stimulants, in the wash portion of the tower. To optimize
product efficacy and reduce application rates, eductors and pumps
were used in the application process. The end result was complete
decontamination and a significant reduction in cleanup time.
EXCHANGERS, LINES & PUMPS
Trials, have shown that oil, trapped in the high points of exchangers, lines,
pumps, etc., can be totally removed and the units decontaminated
with the use of a biological solution. The decontamination
process involves applying the solution and letting it sit for 1
to 3 hours. Circulating the product through the equipment can significantly
reduce cleanup time.
ELECTRICAL BOX CLEANUP
A fuel oil spill contaminated an electrical junction
box, cables, the concrete wall to which the box and cables were
attached and the surrounding soil. A microbial formulation
together with micronutrients and bio-stimulants was
to the wall, junction box and cables and within 48 hours
decontamination was complete. A similar solution was applied to
the contaminated soil and within 18 days contaminant levels were
1. Based on the results of numerous tests in various substrates
and environmental conditions it is fair to conclude that
every hydrocarbon based material can be decomposed.
2. Site conditions and TPH
can differ significantly from site to site and, as a result, each
project must be treated as site specific.
3. The degree of success achieved
will be determined by (1) application apparatus (2) application
process and (3) microbial formulations, including
surfactants, micronutrients and bio-stimulants applied to the
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