Environmental Management

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 325–332 | Cite as

In situ bioremediation of an underground diesel fuel spill: A case history

  • W. T. FrankenbergerJr.
  • K. D. Emerson
  • D. W. Turner


In the winter months of 1983, approximately 1000 gallons of diesel fuel had flowed along an asphalt parking lot of a commercial establishment towards a surface drain near an open creek. Investigations led to the discovery of an underground storage tank leaking diesel fuel. Exploratory borings showed that contamination was near the surface horizon and the capillary zone of the water table. Hydrocarbon quantities ranged up to 1500 mg/kg of soil. The plume continued to move in an eastward direction toward the surface water of the creek. A laboratory study indicated relatively high numbers of hydrocarbon-oxidizing organisms relative to glucose-utilizing microorganisms in the unsaturated vadose zone. Bioreclamation was initiated in April 1984 by injecting nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and hydrogen peroxide and terminated in October 1984 upon no detection (<1 mg/kg) of hydrocarbons. A verification boring within the vicinity of the contaminated plume confirmed that residual contamination had attained background levels. The monitoring program was terminated in January 1987.

Key words

Hydrocarbon contamination Bioreclamation Biorestoration Oil spill Biodegradation of petroleum 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. American Petroleum Institute. 1987. Field study of enhanced subsurface biodegradation of hydrocarbons using hydrogen peroxide as an oxygen source. American Petroleum Institute Publ. 4448.Google Scholar
  2. Cansfield, P. E., and G. J. Race. 1978. Degradation of hydrocarbon sludges in the soil.Canadian Journal of Soil Science 58:339–345.Google Scholar
  3. Casida, L. E., D. A. Klein, and T. Sanfora. 1964. Soil dehydrogenase activity.Soil Science 98:371–376.Google Scholar
  4. Curl, H., Jr., and K. O'Connell. 1977. Chemical and physical properties of refined petroleum products. NOAA Technical Memorandum ERL MESA-17, pp. 1–35.Google Scholar
  5. Dibble, J. T., and R. Bartha. 1979. Rehabilitation of oil-inundated agricultural land: A case history.Soil Science 128:56–60.Google Scholar
  6. Dotson, G. K., R. B. Dean, W. B. Cooke, and B. A. Kennar. 1971. Land spreading, a conserving and non-polluting method of disposing of oily wastes.In S. H. Jenkins (ed.), Proceedings of the 5th International Water Pollution Research Conference, Vol. 1, Sec. II-36/1-36/15. Fairview Park, Elmsford, NY. Pergamon Press, NY.Google Scholar
  7. Frankenberger, W. T., Jr., and J. B. Johanson. 1982. Influence of crude oil and refined petroleum products on soil dehydrogenase activity.Journal of Environmental Quality 11:602–607.Google Scholar
  8. Jamison, V. W., R. L. Raymond, and J. O. Hudson. 1976. Biodegradation of high-octane gasoline. Pages 187–196in J. M. Sharpley and A. M. Kaplan (eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Biodegradation Symposium, Kingston, Rhode Island, August 17–23, 1975. Applied Science Publishers, London.Google Scholar
  9. Jensen, V. 1975. Decomposition of oily wastes in soil. Pages 278–287in G. Kilbertus et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Biodegradation Humification, 1974. Nancy, France. Pierron, Sarreguemines, France.Google Scholar
  10. Kincannon, C. B. 1972. Oily waste disposal by soil cultivation process. Research Report EPA-R2-72-110. Environmental Protection Technology Series, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 65 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Kretschek, A., and M. Krupka. 1984. Biodegradation as a method of hazardous waste treatment in soil and subsurface environments.In Hazardous wastes and environmental emergencies, March 12–14, 1984, Houston, Texas.Google Scholar
  12. Minugh, E. M., J. J. Patry, D. A. Keech, and W. R. Leek. 1983. A case history: Cleanup of a subsurface leak of refined product. Pages 397–403in Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, February 28–March 3, 1983, San Antonio, Texas. Publication No. 4356. American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  13. Pritchard, P. H., R. M. Ventullo, and J. M. Suflita. 1976. The microbial degradation of diesel fuel oil multistage continuous culture system, Pages 67–87in J. M. Sharpley and A. M. Kaplan (eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Biodegradation Symposium, Kingston, Rhode Island, August 17–23, 1975. Applied Science Publishers, London.Google Scholar
  14. Raymond, R. L., V. W. Jamison, and J. O. Hudson. 1967. Microbial hydrocarbon co-oxidation.Applied Environmental Microbiology 15:857–865.Google Scholar
  15. Raymond, R. L., J. O. Hudson, and V. W. Jamison. 1976. Oil degradation in soil.Applied Environmental Microbiology 31:522–535.Google Scholar
  16. Sandvik, S., A. Lode, and T. A. Pedersen. 1986. Biodegradation of oily sludge in Norwegian soils.Applied Microbial Biotechnology 23:297–301.Google Scholar
  17. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 1985. APHA, AWWA, WPCF. Oil and grease. A partition-gravimetric method, 16th ed. p. 497. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. US Environmental Protection Agency. 1982. Test methods for evaluating solid waste. Physical/chemical methods. EPA SW 846, Cincinnati, Ohio.Google Scholar
  19. US Environmental Protection Agency. 1983. Methods for chemical analysis of water and wastes. EPA-600-4-79-020, Cincinnati, Ohio.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. T. FrankenbergerJr.
    • 1
  • K. D. Emerson
    • 2
  • D. W. Turner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Pioneer ConsultantsRedlandsUSA

Personalised recommendations