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Bioresource Technology
Vol. 235, 2017, Pages: 240–249

Bioremediation of storage tank bottom sludge by using a two-stage composting system: Effect of mixing ratio and nutrients addition

Ali Koolivand, Mohammad Sadegh Rajaei, Mohammad Javad Ghanadzadeh, Reza Saeedi, Hamid Abtahi, Kazem Godini

Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran.


The effect of mixing ratio and nutrients addition on the efficiency of a two-stage composting system in removal of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) from storage tank bottom sludge (STBS) was investigated. The system consisted of ten windrow piles as primary composting (PC) followed by four in-vessel reactors as secondary composting (SC). Various initial C/N/P and mixing ratios of STBS to immature compost (IC) were examined in the PC and SC for 12 and 6 weeks, respectively. The removal rates of TPH in the two-stage system (93.72–95.24%) were higher than those in the single-stage one. Depending on the experiments, TPH biodegradation fitted to the first- and second-order kinetics with the rate constants of 0.051–0.334 d-1 and 0.002–0.165 g kg-1 d-1, respectively. The bacteria identified were Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp., Klebsiella sp., Staphylococcus sp., and Proteus sp. The study verified that a two-stage composting system is effective in treating the STBS.

Keywords: Bioremediation; Petroleum hydrocarbons; Two-stage composting; Storage tank bottom sludge; C/N/P ratio.

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