In Situ Bioremediation Potential of an Oily Sludge-Degrading Bacterial Consortium
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A field-scale study was conducted in a 4000 m2 plot of land contaminated with an oily sludge by use of a carrier-based hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial consortium for bioremediation. The land belonged to an oil refinery. Prior to this study, a feasibility study was conducted to assess the capacity of the bacterial consortium to degrade oily sludge. The site selected for bioremediation contained approximately 300 tons of oily sludge. The plot was divided into four blocks, based on the extent of contamination. Blocks A, B, and C were treated with the bacterial consortium, whereas Block D was maintained as an untreated control. In Block A, at time zero, i.e., at the beginning of the experiment, the soil contained as much as 99.2 g/kg of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH). The application of a bacterial consortium (1 kg carrier-based bacterial consortium/10 m2 area) and nutrients degraded 90.2% of the TPH in 120 days, whereas in block D only 16.8% of the TPH was degraded. This study validates the large-scale use of a carrier-based bacterial consortium and nutrients for the treatment of land contaminated with oily sludge, a hazardous hydrocarbon waste generated by petroleum industry.
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