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Aliphatic hydrocarbons in an oil-contaminated soil : Carbon economy during microbiological decontamination

Wibbe, Michael L., Blanke, Michael M.
Environmental science and pollution research international 1999 v.6 no.1 pp. 2-6
aeration, carbon, decontamination, electrical conductivity, emulsions, hydrocarbons, linoleic acid, manufacturing, microorganisms, nutrient content, nutrients, pH, phosphorus, polluted soils, potassium, soil respiration, soil salinity, topsoil
Microbial decontamination of hydrocarbon-polluted soil was paralleled with soil respiration measurements. About 1,500 tons of a loamy top soil were found to be contaminated with approximately 2000 mg/kg of aliphatic hydrocarbons, mainly oleic (C18:1) and linoleic acid (C18:2) found in the vicinity of a linoleum manufacturing and then a car dewaxing plant. The contaminated soil was analysed for dry matter, pH, dehydrogenase activity, electrical conductivity and nutrient content viz. nitrate, phosphorus and potassium, as well as a number of indigenous microbes. The soil was low in salt and nutrients. This paper describes the procedure and measures to decontaminate this bulk soil on site from approx. 2,000 to 500 mg of aliphatic hydrocarbons/kg dry matter by use of a nutrient emulsion, indigenous micro-organisms and aeration over 13 months. This 75% reduction in aliphatic hydrocarbons resulted in a concomitant carbon efflux, measured as soil respiration, and was used to calculate carbon fluxes.