Bioremediation of Oil Spills

Bioremediation of Oil Spills

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Description: According to the EPA, “oil releases oil releases threaten public health and safety by threaten public health and safety by contaminating drinking water, causing fire contaminating drinking water, causing fire and explosion hazards, diminishing air and explosion hazards, diminishing air and water quality, compromising agriculture, water quality, compromising agriculture, destroying recreational areas, wasting destroying recreational areas, wasting nonrenewable resources, and costing the nonrenewable resources, and costing the economy millions of dollars.

 
Author: Alison Hawkins  | Visits: 411 | Page Views: 627
Domain:  Green Tech Category: Fossil Fuel/Nuclear 
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Contents:
Bioremediation
of
Oil Spills

Alison Hawkins

Outline
Introduction
Regulations
Inland vs. Ocean
Methods
Bioaugmentation
Biostimulation
Case Studies
Advancements

According to the EPA, “oil releases
threaten public health and safety by
contaminating drinking water, causing fire
and explosion hazards, diminishing air and
water quality, compromising agriculture,
destroying recreational areas, wasting
nonrenewable resources, and costing the
economy millions of dollars.”

Introduction
• Occur frequently throughout the world
• Require quick action
Regulations
• EPA
• Coast Guard

Inland vs. Ocean Spills
Differences:
Who is in charge of cleaning it up
Who causes the spills
Attention
Size of spill
Similarities:
Threat to populations
Require quick action

Methods
Physical
Chemical
Biological

Bioremediation
Bioremediation: the use of microorganisms
to decompose pollutants into simpler
compounds
Degradation: the process of microbes
breaking substances down into water,
CO2, and other compounds
Prime goal
Two types
Secondary treatment tool

Bacteria

Fungi

Achromobbacter
Actinomyces

Aureobasidium

Aeromonas

Botrytis

Alcaligenes

Candida

Arthrobacter

Cephaiosporium

Bacillus

Cladosporium

Beneckea

Cunninghamella

Brevebacterium

Debaromyces

Coryneforms

Fusarium

Erwinia

Gonytrichum

Flavobacterium

Hansenula

Klebsiella

Helminthosporium

Lactobacillus

Mucor

Leucothrix

Oidiodendrum

Moraxella

Paecylomyces

Nocardia

Phialophora

Peptococcus

Penicillium

Psedomonas

Rhodosporidium

Sarcina

Rhodotorula
Saccharomyces
Saccharomycopisis

Streptomyces
Table from Gordon

Aspergillus

Spirillum

Bioaugmentation:
addition of
microbes to
supplement the
current population
to degrade oil and
other hydrocarbons

Acinetobacter

Spherotilus

Bioaugmentation

Allesheria

Scopulariopsis

Vibrio

Sporobolomyces

Xanthomyces

Torulopsis
Trichoderma
Trichosporon

Bioaugmentation
Unable to degrade certain contaminants
Polluted environments, 10% of resident
microbe population are degraders
Other requirements must be met
Microbes have a peak concentration
Microbes must compete to survive
Genetically altered microbes

Biostimulation
Biostimulation: addition of nutrients to aid in
the growth of the indigenous microbe
population
Major nutrients: carbon, nitrogen,
phosphorous, oxygen, and water
Main concerns are oxygen supply and
temperature
Nutrients must be available and in contact
with microbes

Biostimulation
1 g hydrocarbon requires 150mg N and
30mg P
C:N:P = 100:5:1
Fertilizer
Rate of release
Washout effect
Type of nutrients

Table from Zhu et al

Advantages
• Less expensive
• Natural process
• Not disruptive to surrounding ecosystems
• Does not require moving oil to another
location
• Continues to improve conditions

Disadvantages
• Bioaugmentation not very effective
• Success depends on proper nutrients and
environmental conditions
• Takes time to evaluate site
• Takes time to see results

Exxon Valdez
• Oil tanker received 1.26 million barrels of

oil (54 million gallons) in Alaska
• Bottomed out on rocks of the Bligh Reef in
Prince William Sound
• 8 of the 11 cargo holds on the ship broke
and within 5 hours, 11 million gallons of
oil had spilled
• 80% of oil remained on the ship

Figure from Gordon

Exxon Valdez
• Needed to remove remaining oil and

cleanup the spilled oil
• Had to consider surrounding ecosystems
• Many methods tried
• 3 years later, the Coast Guard
discontinued the effort
• EPA asked if they could use experimental
technology

Exxon Valdez
• Analysis of different test plots
• Used biostimulation
• Oleophoric fertilizer
– 10,000 fold increase of oil-eating microbes

• Within two weeks, saw a change in

amount of oil on the rocks and beaches
• Tests showed this was due to fertilizer
• Increase test area

Ashland Oil Spill
• Four million-gallon storage tank collapsed
• Oil flowed from the tank, across a parking
lot, through a storm sewer to the
Mongahela
River into the
Ohio River

Figure from EPA

Ashland Oil Spill
• Half the size of the Exxon Valdez spill
• Larger impact on populations
• Killed thousands of waterfowl and fish,
closed 15 municipal drinking water
intakes, and disrupted drinking water
supply for 2.7 million people.
• Mechanical methods were used
• Only 20% of oil was recovered

Spill Effects
• Sparked public awareness
• More stringent regulations and laws
enacted – Oil Pollution Act of 1990
• Helped encourage the use and
advancement of bioremediation

Advancements
Information gained includes:
• Determining the effectiveness of
bioremediation agents
• Statistical proof that bioremediation
enhances disappearance rate of crude oil
• Minimum N concentration necessary
Difficult to perform controlled experiments

Conclusion
• Oil spills can happen anywhere
• Require quick reaction time
• Various methods available
• Bioremediation is an emerging process

that needs to be analyzed farther to see
the true effectiveness of the process

References
• EPA Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Ch 8
• EPA Website. (2006) http://www.epa.gov/oilspill/index.htm
• Gordon, Ray. (1994) “Bioremediation and its Application to Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in




Alaska.”
Michel, J., S. Christopherson, and F. Whipple. (1994) Mechanical Protection
Guidelines. Columbia, South Carolina
Nichols, William J. The United States Environmental Protection Agency: National Oil

Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, Subpart J Product Schedule(40
CFR 300.900).
Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), U.S. Congress. (1991) Bioremediation for
Marine Oil Spills- Background Paper, OTA-BP-O-70 (Washington, DC: U.S.

Government Printing Office).

• Understanding Oil Spills and Oil Spill Response. (1990) US EPA, Office of Emergency



and Remedial Response.
Venosa, Albert D. “NRT Fact Sheet: Bioremediation in Oil Spill Response.” EPA,
Cincinatti, OH.
Zhu, X., A. Venosa, M. Suidan, and K. Lee. (2001) Guidelines for the Bioremediation
of Marine Shorelines and Freshwater Wetlands. U.S. EPA, Cincinatti, Ohio.

Questions?