Repetitive small spills of fuel as diesel and lubricant oil during repair and maintenance of machinery as well as casual accidents within the mining industry constitute an unseen pollution of current environmental concern. The northern Chilean mining industry has not been an exception, where continuous fuel spills had occurred and had subsequently been adsorbed by desert soils and sawdust used as cheap sorbent materials to control environmental pollution. The resulting fuel-contaminated mixture is considered hazardous waste by the Chilean legislation, and thus contained in a hazardous waste landfill. Alternative options to landfilling and thus reduction of waste volume dumped in landfills consists of physical, chemical, and biological treatments or either combination, where bioremediation is a cost-effective alternative. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether bioremediation of fuel-contaminated wastes is feasible under the environmental conditions of the Atacama region (Chile). In this study we determined the feasibility of bioremediation by aerated in-vessel composting of an aged fuel-contaminated desert mining soil and sawdust in the Atacama region. We investigated the removal of total organic compounds (TOCs) and changes in the microbial diversity during composting conditions at laboratory scale under controlled conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation. Using biomolecular tools, we related contaminant removal to changes in the diversity of microbial communities.
Reyes-Bozo, Lorenzo; Antizar-Lalislao, Blanca; Sáez-Navarrete, César; and Godoy-Faúndeza, Alex
"Bioremediation Of TOCs Present In Fuel-Contaminated Desert Mining Soil And Sawdust In The Atacama Region (Chile).,"
Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water and Energy:
Vol. 13, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/soilsproceedings/vol13/iss1/4