Abstract

Oil exploration and production activities can cause severe environmental damage due to crude oil discharges to the environment. Remediation of impacted environment follow a general framework hinged on legal/regulatory framework and site specific risk assessment of the levels of contaminants present. Within this general framework of regulations, site specific constraints and cost-effectiveness, the best available technique (BAT) for remedial actions is usually proffered. In this study case of crude oil contaminated soil remediation, composting of the contaminated soil in bio-piles using wood shavings (saw dust) as bulking agent and a commercial product as source of both commercial microbial inoculums and nutrient (N, P, K), was adopted. The major activities in this project involved composting in windrows, broadcasting of the nutrient source and laboratory monitoring. The Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) degradation was most rapid during the first 5 weeks of the remedial activities and thereafter followed a typical first order degradation curve. After, 22 weeks of treatment 93% from 3830mg/kg dry weight to 268.1mg/kg dry weight degradation of TPH of the contaminated soil was achieved and a corresponding increase in number of bacterial populations was also observed.

1.0 Introduction

The world's integrated international economy is highly dependent on oil-based technology. Oil supplies about 40% of the world's energy requirements. Therefore oil exploration and production is essential if the world's rising demand for energy must be met. Ironically one very pathetic and undesirable consequence of the world's dependence on oil-based technology and oil exploration and production activities is the discharge of oil into the environment through deliberate and accidental spillages. Operations which are likely to lead to the spill of oil into the environment include oil exploration, oil drilling, oil production, oil storage, oil processing, oil transportation and oil usage. Oil spills can occur through accidental rupture of pipelines, storage tanker overflow/failure, well blowouts, tanker accidents, activities of vandals/sabotage, equipment failures, which results invariably into the discharge of crude oil and refined products into both terrestrial and aquatic environments.

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