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A safe, efficient and cost effective process for removing petroleum hydrocarbons from a highly heterogeneous and relatively inaccessible shoreline

Guerin, Turlough F.
Journal of environmental management 2015 v.162 pp. 190-198
aeration, cost effectiveness, diesel fuel, drilling, human resources, hydrocarbons, littoral zone, petroleum, remediation, road construction, sediments, shorelines, surfactants
A rocky, intractable and highly heterogeneous, intertidal zone, was contaminated from a diesel fuel spill that occurred during refuelling of a grader used in road construction, on an operational mine's shiploading facility. A practical, cost-effective, and safer (to personnel by avoiding drilling and earthworks), and non-invasive sampling and remediation strategy was designed and implemented since the location and nature of the impacted geology (rock fill) and sediment, precluded conventional ex-situ and any in-situ treatment where drilling would be required. Enhanced biostimulation with surfactant, available N & P (which were highly constrained), and increased aeration, increased the degradation rate from no discernable change for 2 years post-spill, to 170 mg/kg/day; the maximum degradation rate after intervention. While natural attenuation was ineffective in this application, the low-cost, biostimulation intervention proved successful, allowing the site owner to meet their regulatory obligations. Petroleum hydrocarbons (aliphatic fraction) decreased from ∼20,000 mg/kg to <200 mg/kg at the completion of 180 weeks of treatment.