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Full-Scale Remediation of a Jet Fuel-Contaminated Soil: Assessment of Biodegradation, Volatilization, and Bioavailability

Lookup NU author(s): Demelza Menendez VegaORCiD


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Here, we addressed biodegradation vs. volatilization processes, and also bioavailability limitations during biopile remediation of soil initially contaminated by more than 5,000 mg/kg of hydrocarbons. In order to select bioremediation strategies, we first conducted a biotreatability study, which included geochemical, textural, and microbiological characterization of the soil matrix. Next, we implemented five bioremediation approaches onsite in real-scale biopiles. In order to monitor hydrocarbon depletion and to distinguish between biological and non-biological processes, we analyzed chemical biomarkers by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In addition, a comprehensive study of soil grain size and its implications on bioavailability were studied. Furthermore, the evolution of microbial populations was also examined. Two of the strategies implemented in the biopiles (the combination of a slow-release fertilizer and a surfactant, and the use of an oleophilic fertilizer respectively) reduced the soil hydrocarbon content to under 500 mg/kg in 5 months. Additional results from this study indicate that volatilization was the predominant degradation process for light hydrocarbons (below 12 carbon atoms), whereas heavier compounds were mainly biodegraded. However, even in the most favorable situation, a residual concentration of hydrocarbons linked to the finer fraction of the soil was found

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gallego JLR, Sierra C, Permanyer A, Peláez AI, Menéndez-Vega D, Sánchez J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

Year: 2011

Volume: 217

Issue: 1-4

Pages: 197-211

Print publication date: 10/08/2010

Online publication date: 27/07/2010

ISSN (print): 0049-6979

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s11270-010-0579-6


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