Bioremediation of diesel-polluted soil using biostimulation as post-treatment after oxidation with Fenton-like reagents: Assays in a pilot plant
Gloria Andrea Silva-Castro, Belén Rodelas, Carlos Perucha, Jaime Laguna, Jesús González-López, Concepción Calvo
Department of Microbiology, Institute of Water Research, University of Granada, Spain, C/Ramón y Cajal no 4, 18071 Granada, Spain.
The present study focuses on the remediation of diesel-polluted soil using modified Fenton treatment coupled with inorganic NPK fertilizer (“Fenton + NPK”). Studies were carried out in a pilot plant containing 1 m3 of sandy soil contaminated with 20,000 mg kg−1 of diesel, placed outdoors at a temperature ranging between 5 and 10 °C. Results showed that NPK-fertilizer as post-treatment stimulated culturable degrading bacteria and enhanced dehydrogenase activity. Fenton + NPK treatment increased total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) removal efficacy. Natural attenuation removed 49% of TPH in the surface layer, 23% of TPH in the non-saturated layer and 4% of the TPH in the saturated layer, while the percentage removed of TPH after Fenton + NPK treatment was 58%, 57% and 32% respectively. The results from our study showed that, immediately after soil contamination, occurred a specialization and differentiation of the bacterial community, but after this initial modification, no significant changes of bacterial diversity was observed under natural attenuation conditions. In contrast, when the Fenton's reagent was applied a reduction of the bacterial biodiversity was observed. However, the post-biostimulation did enhance the degrading microbiota and stimulated their degrading biological activity. In conclusion, biostimulation, as a post-treatment step in chemical oxidation, is an effective solution to remediate hydrocarbon-polluted sites.