Field-scale remediation of oil-contaminated soils from the Liaohe Oil Fields in China was examined using composting biopiles in windrow technology. Micronutrient-enriched chicken excrement and rice husk were applied as nutrition and a bulking agent. The lipase activities of indigenous micro-organisms were analyzed, and three indigenous fungi with high lipase activities was identified. An inoculum consisting of the three indigenous fungi and one introduced (exotic) fungus was applied to four different types of oil-contaminated soils. The results showed that the inoculum of indigenous fungi increased both the total colony-forming units (TCFU) and increased the rate of degradation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in all contaminated soils but at different rates. In sharp contrast to other studies, the introduction of exotic micro-organisms did not improve the remediation, and suggests that inoculation of oil-contaminated sites with nonindigenous species is likely to fail. On the other hand, indigenous genera of microbes were found to be very effective in increasing the rate of degradation of TPH. The degradation of TPH was mainly controlled by the compositions of aromatic hydrocarbons and asphaltene and resin. Between 38 to 57% degradation of crude oils (with densities ranging from 25,800 to 77,200 mg/kg dry weight) in contaminated soils was achieved after 53 days of operation. The degradation patterns followed typical first-order reactions. We demonstrate that the construction and operation of field-scale composting biopiles in windrows with passive aeration is a cost-effective bioremediation technology.
Field of Research
050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
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