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Bio-remediation Advantages and Disadvantages assessment - Case Study Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Bioremediation INTRODUCTION Bioremediation is the process of work by biological agents; mainly micro-organisms are used to restore the environment in its original state after its alteration by contaminants. There are several substances that may interfere with the environment, both on land and in the sea, ranging from oil spills, wastes from industries, chemicals used in agricultural processes, and many others…
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Download file to see previous pages Micro-organisms cannot break down metal particles. There are several bioremediation approaches that may be undertaken depending on the nature of the contaminant and the extent of contamination. QUESTION ONE There are several bioremediation methods that the company can adopt to avoid the disastrous effects of the oil spill accidents (Elweis 38). Bioremediation is necessary as it will reduce the effects of the oil spill in both environments – land and water. In the first accident, the oil spill will spread in the soil of the bed as well as in water. The methods that are to be used for the tanker that runs aground should be able to take care of the oil that gets absorbed by the bed while as the for the second ship, the method should focus on the elimination of oil that is found on top. The method of biodegradation that can be used to degrade petroleum in the second oil spill accident is nutrient enrichment. The research indicates that the major factor that hinders the biodegradation of petroleum that results from oil spills due to tanker accidents is the lack of an adequate nutrient supply to the marine micro-organisms that decompose oil. The process involves the addition of a carefully formulated fertilizer to the water contaminated by oil. This fertilizer contains specific nutrients that promote the growth of indigenous marine micro-organisms that are responsible for degrading petroleum. The fertilizers must be carefully selected to ensure only nutrients that are vital to the growth of the specific bacteria are present. The major nutrients that are required for optimum growth of the marine micro-organisms that degrade petroleum are nitrogen and phosphorus. The fertilizer selected should be that which provides the slow release of nutrients. This is very important as it ensures that the nutrients are available to the micro-organisms throughout the biodegradation period. The fertilizers used are usually present in two forms, either as granules or in a liquid form. The fertilizer in a liquid form is applied to the surface of water by the use of sprinklers. The use of nutrient enrichment method to combat the effects of oil spill has advantages as well as shortcomings as indicated in the table 1 below. Table 1 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Nutrient Enrichment Method Disadvantages Advantages Addition of nutrients could cause eutrophication leading to depletion of oxygen. No formation of algal blooms occurs. Some components of the fertilizer may be harmful to other marine organisms. Cases of adverse ecological effects are rare. Some of the products of bioremediation using nutrient enrichment may be harmful. The method is safer in comparison to other methods of conventional degradation. The increased growth and multiplication of the micro-organisms may cause an ecological imbalance in the marine environment. The other method that can be used by the company to reduce the effects of the oil spill is the slurry phase bioremediation that is suitable for contaminated soil (Elweis 292). It involves the excavation of the contaminated material and its transfer to the slurry where the contaminating agent is removed. The contaminated material is suspended in an aqueous solution, and the treatment process is conducted under saturated conditions. In this case, the contaminated ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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