Applications I: Degradation – Pollution Mitigation and Waste Treatment Introduction

  • Michael J. Firth
  • Roger C. Prince
  • Michel Boufadel
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons can be a cost-effective part of site remediation programs for soil, ground water, shorelines, and, in some cases, sediments. Research documenting the effectiveness of bioremediation goes back to at least its use to remediate soil following a 1972 pipeline rupture in Ambler, PA [1]. Bioremediation has been successfully demonstrated in laboratory and field tests for refineries (e.g., [2–4]), for the treatment of oily sludges [5–7] and for remediating accidental petroleum releases such as oil spills [8, 9]. Research has documented the presence of native microbes capable of degrading hydrocarbons in most soils, the rate of biodegradation in various climates from temperate to polar, the potential benefits of using specific inocula to enhance degradation rates, and the optimal conditions (e.g., nutrients, pH, etc.) for biodegradation to occur. In 1993 the National Research Council [10] published a seminal guide supporting the use of bioremediation and documented the biology and state-of-practice at the time. Similarly, the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council [11] published a series of case studies that demonstrated the effectiveness of bioremediation for petroleum hydrocarbons in ground water. With almost 40 years of documented support, bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons is now a proven technology. For other hydrocarbons, most notably chlorinated hydrocarbons, laboratory studies can often demonstrate biodegradation, but success in the field varies [12].


Bioremediation Biostimulation Modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Firth
    • 1
  • Roger C. Prince
    • 2
  • Michel Boufadel
    • 3
  1. 1.The ELM GroupHolicongUSA
  2. 2.ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc.AnnandaleUSA
  3. 3.Center for Natural Resources Development and ProtectionNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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