All of us have benefited from the rapid rise and spread of technology during the last century. Unfortunately, we are also the inheritors of all of the environmental contamination that was a result. For this reason, many people find themselves with a leaking oil tank, contaminated soil, or unsafe ground water. The good news is that several new technologies are finding innovative ways to tackle the problem. One of the most noteworthy is soil bioremediation.
Soil bioremediation techniques consist of using natural biological processes to assist in the breakdown, detoxification, and removal of ground contamination. In effect, bacteria, fungi, and plants that can convert the toxins into usable energy are introduced to the affected area. Over time, this process can completely remove or greatly reduce toxicity with virtually no negative environmental effects. Just over a decade ago, this technology was in its infancy. Now it is a powerful resource available in a wide variety of situations. Here are a few things to know about soil remediation and how it can work for you.
1. Contaminated soil bioremediation can be used to remove many toxic chemicals including hydrocarbons, halogenated organic solvents and compounds, non-chlorinated pesticides and herbicides, nitrogen compounds, and toxic metals like lead, mercury, and chromium.
2. Those contaminants that occur naturally are more easily and quickly degraded and removed from the soil. For example, petroleum hydrocarbons are naturally occurring and are eliminated using the bioremediation process relatively easily. Non-naturally occurring contaminants are harder to fight, and will generally require the introduction of genetically engineered microorganisms.
3. The presence of certain nutrients as well as the temperature and other conditions of the soil will help or hinder these processes. Hiring a professional bioremediation service is the best way to insure success.
4. There are two general categories within the bioremediation natural process: in Situ and ex Situ. The former is usually less expensive because it requires no excavation or transport of contaminated materials. Instead, plants and other organisms are introduced on site. This is the most unobtrusive and environmentally friendly method, although success will depend greatly on the conditions of the soil and the surrounding environment. Ex Situ bioremediation requires transporting the contaminated soil to a bioreactor or biopile where conditions can be more closely controlled and even sped up. This technique tends to cost more, although it can be faster and more effective for a wider range of soil types. A specialist will be able to assess a given site and the most practical solutions.
5. There are many state and federal funding opportunities that can assist with bioremediation efforts. Be aware, however, that it may take months for reimbursement. It is important to make sure that you use a certified company so that granting agencies will recognize the work and help to defray costs.
Now that the damage has been done to our environment, there is no other course of action but to begin cleaning it up. Bioremediation processes are a hopeful development that promise to help turn the tide of environmental contamination. ANCO environmental services is well poised to meet these and other needs. Not only are they recognized as leaders in the field, but they have the tools and experience to work on any remediation job large or small. Although we are the unwitting recipients of this mess, we must do our best not to simply pass it along to the next generation. ANCO can help if you have leaking oil on your property. Contact them urgently for more information.