Author(s): Kriipsalu M, Marques M, Hogland W, Nammari DR
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Abstract In order to assess the effectiveness of aerobic degradation with emphasis on the 16 U.S. EPA priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), oily sludge generated by a dissolved air flotation flocculation unit of a wastewater treatment plant in a petroleum refinery was amended with remediated oil-contaminated soil and non-mature garden waste compost 40:40:20 (wet weight) respectively. About 21 t of the mixture with a top-layer formed by 30 cm of remediated soil was treated in a 28 m3 air-forced reactor. The PAH concentration was monitored for 370 days. In the top-layer, a reduction of 88 \% of the total extractable PAH was measured at day 62 and a final reduction of 93\% at day 370. In the mixture, a reduction of 72\% in total PAH was measured at day 62, followed by fluctuation in concentration with a final measured reduction of 53\% at day 370. The analysis of individual PAH in the mixture suggested that volatilization and biodegradation are the main mechanisms responsible for the reduction of 2 ring PAH and 3-4 ring PAH, respectively. Fluctuation of 5-6 ring PAH concentrations with increase observed at the end of the period might result from a combination of the following: (i) sequestration of large PAH in the organic matrix (reducing bioavailability, biodegradability and eventually, extractability) and desorption as composting progresses; (ii) heterogeneous distribution of the stable large PAH in the mixture, thus affecting sampling. It was concluded that one-time composting in static-aerated biopiles with organic amendments as the sole strategy to treat oily sludge is very effective in reducing the content of 2-4 ring PAH, but it is not effective in reducing the content of 5-6 ring PAHs, even after a relatively long time span (370 d). The concentrations measured in the remediated soil that formed the top layer after 62 days of composting suggests that further relevant reduction of residual PAH (89\% of total PAH and 69\% of 5-6 ring PAH) can be obtained if the contaminated masses are exposed to a second thermophilic phase. This could be achieved by adding new easily biodegradable organic amendments to the contaminated masses after some months of composting, remixing and composting again for a minimum additional period of 2 months.
This article was published in Environ Technol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation