A pilot field study was initiated to evaluate the feasibility of remediating produced water and hydro-carbon contaminated soils along produced water gathering lines and disposal facilities in Southeast New Mexico. The soils were contaminated by leaks occurring adjacent to gathering lines and along Right-of-Ways over a 30 year time frame.


Soils at a significant number of sites were contaminated due to spills and leaks associated with an aging infrastructure and common operational problems.

Remediation utilized to degrade hydrocarbons in-situ is a useful and growing technology. Land treatment of petroleum hydrocarbons, using indigenous soil bacteria, has been recognized as a viable treatment technology for two decades. However, remediation of soils with high concentrations of Sodium Chloride and other salts presents a much more difficult problem. Usage of calcium nitrate, a commercially available irrigation water additive, as a catalyst to exchange the sodium in salt water contaminated soils is a common practice in sodic soils. Tillage and the addition of an organic material to soils is a route to enhance soils permeability. The means for successful remediation is basically to adjust critical environmental factors such as soil ph, soil moisture, and nutrients to support indigenous soil microbes and enhance permeability.


  1. Determine if contaminated soils at the sites contained an indigenous microbial population capable of degrading the hydrocarbon.

  2. Determine if on site remediation is feasible at often remote locations.

  3. Determine if the soil characteristics at the contaminated sites present a large factor on the remediation process.

  4. Determine the effect of adding organic matter to soils.

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