Biosurfactant enhanced bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in weathered drilling waste
Keller, Troy Brendan, Hugh
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Mismanagement of hydrocarbon-based drilling waste from oil and gas operations is a concern in Alberta and around the world. Their disposal in landfills is a commonly used practice which represents an unsustainable risk management option. Sustainable alternative methods of remediation exist, including the use of plant-based biosurfactants to enhance the bioremediation of this type of drilling waste. A bench-scale bioremediation experiment was conducted using three different concentrations of a nonionic plant-based biosurfactant at two temperatures. Adequate carbon to nitrogen ratio was achieved through the addition of urea. Results from this study indicate that the use of the specific plant-based biosurfactant had no significant difference on the total petroleum hydrocarbon reductions. This was attributed to the enhanced hydrocarbon toxicity created by the biosurfactant through significant mass transfer of the contaminant. Further research should include the use of a biosurfactant when a hydrocarbon reduction plateau is reached during remediation to determine if hydrocarbon bioavailability is a limiting factor.
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