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Engineered in situ bioremediation of soil and groundwater polluted with weathered hydrocarbons

Lookup NU author(s): Demelza Menendez VegaORCiD


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In this work, we present our experience in the engineered in situ biostimulation of a hydrocarbon-polluted subsoil of an old metal-working plant. The site had a long history of fuel, lubricant oil, and diesel spills and leakages that were initially treated by means of physico-chemical techniques. After one year of treatment, weathered hydrocarbons were firmly sorbed in the unsaturated zone, limiting the effectiveness of the physico-chemical methods being applied. Also, low nutrient and dissolved oxygen levels limited natural attenuation yields. Therefore, a bioremediation approach based on the injection of hydrogen peroxide, an oleophilic fertilizer, and a surfactant was applied. Total petroleum hydrocarbons and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry determinations were performed as a chemical means of monitoring the process. Microbial populations, including the presence of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, were simultaneously analyzed during the process, using enrichment techniques and confocal laser scanning microscopy observations with fluorescent indicators. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria were already present in the polluted subsoil prior to the implementation of this bioremediation technique and increased noticeably during the first 2 months of treatment. Hence, the suitability of the nutrient and oxygen amending approach was confirmed as further demonstrated by chemical determinations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Menendez-Vega D, Gallego JLR, Pelaez AI, Fernandez de Cordoba G, Moreno J, Muñoz D, Sanchez J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Soil Biology

Year: 2007

Volume: 43

Issue: 5-6

Pages: 310-321

Print publication date: 01/12/2007

Online publication date: 26/03/2007

ISSN (print): 1164-5563

ISSN (electronic): 1778-3615

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2007.03.005


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