Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-052599-115437

Document Typethesis
Author NameWalsh, Jami Beth
Email Address jamib at alum.wpi.edu
TitleA Feasibility Study of Bioremediation in a Highly Organic Contaminated Soil
DepartmentCivil & Environmental Engineering
  • Prof. James C. O'Shaughnessy, Advisor
  • Fred L. Hart, Department Head
  • Keywords
  • Petroleum Hydrocarbons
  • Bioremediation
  • Biodegradation
  • Date of Presentation/Defense1999-05-04
    Availability unrestricted


    The focus of this study is on the use of bioremediation, as the primary method of decontamination for a soil contaminated with industrial waste oils. The area from which the samples were taken was used as a disposal site for oily wastewater for a period of more than 20 years. During this time the soil became severely contaminated.

    The site is approximately 1 acre in area and consists of three distinct soil strata: a solidified petroleum layer, a peat layer and a layer of muck and mud. This soil is approximately 96% organic matter. The purpose of this study is to determine if: given these site characteristics, is bioremediation a feasible option.

    Three phases were conducted to determine the usefulness of bioremediation in this situation. Phase one focused on the removal of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) through nutrient addition and aeration. Phase two focused on quantifying and characterizing the reductions observed in phase one. Phase three again focused on quantifying and characterizing the reductions observed in phase one. The three phases of the study provided strong evidence that bioremediation was occurring in the soil and therefore, would be a viable means of remediation for a site with similar characteristics.

  • walsh.pdf

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