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Bioremediation of Kerosene and Diesel Fuel in soil case study

The United States has a large hazardous waste problem that is threatening both human health and the environment. Current analysis of the nearly 1,200 National Priority List (NPL) sites reveals that about 80% of the sites are contaminated with organic compounds. Clean-up of hazardous waste sites, as a national priority has accelerated the development of bioremediation technologies.

Environmental BioTechnologies, Inc. (EBT), in a project sponsored by the Ford Motor Land Development Company, conducted a bench-scale landfarming bioremediation study on a diesel and kerosene contaminated soil. Diesel and kerosene concentrations were monitored as total petroleum hydrocarbons to determine the rate of degradation. Soil treatments consisted of the following: 1) a sterile control, 2) an unamended 'as is' soil, 3) supplemented with fertilizers to provide a carbon:nitrogen:phosphorous ratio of 35:10:1, and 4) supplemented with fertilizers to provide a carbon:nitrogen:phosphorous ratio of 100:10:1. Microbial enumerations were performed during the study to quantify the effect of the nutrients on the microbial population.

Results on the diesel contaminated soil showed that the diesel concentration in the nutrient amended soil (100:10:1) was reduced from 1300 ppm to approximately 400 ppm in 42 days. Initially both of the nutrient amended soils had degradation rates of approximately 106 mg/kg/day. The addition of nutrients to the soils also increased the microbial population.

 Results for the biodegradation of kerosene showed that the nutrient amended soil (100:10:1) was reduced from 425 ppm to approximately 50 ppm in 42 days. Initially the kerosene degradation rates were above 200 mg/kg/day for the nutrient amended soils. There was not a significant difference in the microbial population between the unamended and the nutrient amended soils.

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