Assessing Technical and Economic Feasibility of Complete Bioremediation for Soils Chronically Polluted with Petroleum Hydrocarbons
Molecular Microbiology and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Chemistry and Center of Biotechnology, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile
- *Corresponding Author:
- Michael Seeger
Molecular Microbiology and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory
Department of Chemistry and Center of Biotechnology
Universidad Técnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile
Received Date: May 07, 2017; Accepted Date: May 17, 2017; Published Date: May 19, 2017
Citation: Orellana R, Cumsille A, Rojas C, Cabrera P, Seeger M, et al. (2017) Assessing Technical and Economic Feasibility of Complete Bioremediation for Soils Chronically Polluted with Petroleum Hydrocarbons. J Bioremediat Biodegrad 8:396. doi: 10.4172/2155-6199.1000396
Copyright: © 2017 Orellana R, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Petroleum hydrocarbons are highly persistent in the environment and represent a significant risk for humans, biodiversity, and the ecosystems. Frequently, hydrocarbon-contaminated sites remain polluted for decades due to a lack of proper decontamination treatments. Although bioremediation techniques have gained attention for being environmentally friendly, cost-effective and applicable in situ, their application is still limited. Each polluted soil has particularities, therefore, the bioremediation approach for a contaminated site is unique. Bioremediation cost studies are usually based on hypothetical assumptions rather than technical or experimental data. The research aims of this study were to clean-up chronically hydrocarbon-polluted soils using aerobic and anaerobic bioremediation techniques and to carry out an economic evaluation of the most promising bioremediation treatments. The results showed that aerobic biostimulation with vermicompost and aerobic bioaugmentation plus air venting were the most effective treatments, degrading 78% and 73% of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in chronically hydrocarbonpolluted soils after six weeks, respectively. In contrast, no significant degradation of hydrocarbon was observed by anaerobic biostimulation treatments with lactate and acetate. An economic evaluation of the aerobic treatments were carried out. This analysis revealed that the cost of treating one cubic meter of soil by biostimulation is US$ 59, while bioaugmentation costs US$77. This study provides a clear structure of costs for both aerobic bioremediation approaches based on projections made from these lab-scale incubations. These values represent the first step towards a better understanding of the feasibility of such treatments at larger scales, which is crucial to move on industrial bioremediation of soils chronically polluted with petroleum hydrocarbons.