Author(s): Dibble JT, Bartha R
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Abstract A laboratory study was conducted with the aim of evaluating and optimizing the environmental parameters of "landfarming", i.e., the disposal by biodegradation in soil of oily sludges generated in the refining of crude oil and related operations. Oil sludge biodegradation was monitored by CO2 evolution and by periodic analysis of residual hydrocarbons. The parameters studied were soil moisture, pH, mineral nutrients, micronutrients, organic supplements, treatment rate, teratment frequency, and incubation temperature. Oil sludge biodegradation was optimal at a soil water-holding capacity of 30 to 90\%, a pH of 7.5 to 7.8, C:N and C:P ratios of 60:1 and 800:1, respectively, and a temperature of 20 degrees C or above. Addition of micronutrients and organic supplements was not beneficial; sewage sludge interfered with hydrocarbon biodegradation. Breakdown of the saturated hydrocarbon (alkane and cycloalkane) fraction was the highest at low application rates, but higher application rates favored the biodegradation of the aromatic and asphaltic fractions. An application rate of 5\% (wt/wt) oil sludge hydrocarbon to the soil (100,000 liters/hectare) achieved a good compromise between high biodegradation rates and efficient land use and resulted in the best overall biodegradation rate of all hydrocarbon classes. Frequent small applications resulted in higher biodegradation than single large applications. Two 100,000-liter/hectare (255 barrels per acre) or four 50,000-liter/hectare oil sludge hydrocarbon applications per growing season seem appropriate for most temperate zone disposal sites.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care