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Abstract

Bioremediation for a Soil Contaminated with Hydrocarbons

Rosario Iturbe and Jessica López

The objective was to remediate, through biopiles, 27400 m3 of soil contaminated with heavy fraction hydrocarbons (HFH) at a Maritime Terminal in southeastern Mexico. To clean the soil, two bioremediation stages were considered: i) batches of soil of 3800 m3 subjected to land farming pretreatment, ii) biopiles formation of 70 m length, 16 m width, and 2 m height. The parameters controlled during 8 months of bioremediation were: nutrients, water content, aeration, and temperature. Monitoring contemplated monthly sampling of each biopile, the analyzed parameters were the heavy fraction hydrocarbons, bacteria counting, and respirometry. Results revealed that HFH removal in biopiles reached 43.2% after pre-treatment (land farming), 68.7% at mid-treatment, and 77.7% at the end of treatment. The land farming pretreatment achieved a higher percentage of hydrocarbons removal, because aeration was very efficient at the start of treatment; therefore, enhancing aerobic biodegradation.