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Assessment of the physicochemical and microbiological status of western Niger Delta soil for crude oil pollution bioremediation potential

Ejechi, Bernard O., Ozochi, Chizoba A.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2015 v.187 no.6 pp. 369
aeration, analysis of variance, bioremediation, carbon, cation exchange capacity, cattle manure, delta soils, field experimentation, fungi, loam soils, nitrogen, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, oils, pH, petroleum, phosphorus, pollution, poultry manure, river deltas, sandy soils, temperature, Nigeria
The physical, chemical and microbiological characteristics of the soil across the western Niger Delta area of Nigeria were determined to assess its potential for natural remediation of crude oil pollution. The pH (oil-producing area, 6.1 ± 1.1; non-oil producing, 5.9 ± 0.9) and temperature (28–35 °C in both areas) were favourable to natural remediation, while the fluctuating moisture (7.7–45.6 %) and the dominant sandy soil textural classes (70 %) were limitations. The carbon nitrogen phosphorus (CNP) ratio markedly exceeded recommended 100:10:1, while the cation exchange capacity was below acceptable range. Counts of heterotrophic bacteria, fungi and hydrocarbon-utilising and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (mean range log₁₀ 3.8 ± 1.5–6.52 ± 0.9 cfu/g) were favourable having markedly exceeded the minimum counts required. Crude oil loss was highest in loam soil, but significantly (P = 0.00) increased in all soil textural classes including sandy soils after amendment with cow dung/poultry dropping and manual aeration in laboratory and 8-month field tests as indicated by two-way ANOVA. Thus, the overall assessment is that while CNP can be viewed as the major limiting factor to natural oil pollution remediation in the western Niger Delta soil, its influence can be minimised by the amendment indicated in the study.