Enhanced Bioremediation Papers
This Website is being launched to showcase a specific paper, entitled, "Feasibility of Bioremediation of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam."
Why? The continued contamination of soil and sediment by wartime defoliants applied in third world countries is unacceptable. It is appropriate that the West mitigate the toxic and environmental impacts of its involvement in these countries. Unfortunately, the cost of detoxifying vast amounts of contaminated soil and sediment using traditional, robust technologies seems to be beyond the means of the current economy. In Da Nang, for example, thermal treatment of the 26,814 cubic meters of contaminated soil was estimated to cost about $13.8 M in 2009; the actual cost of thermal treatment has risen to about $100 M to date and it is still rising, with only about half the contaminated soil treated. Biological treatment, which is much more energy efficient (i.e., less robust), is proven by this research to achieve regulatory goals. It was estimated to cost only about $3.5 M in 2009; the maximum estimate for biological treatment using an active landfill was about $7.1 M.
The enormous savings of using biological treatment would free up major resources better spent on needed improvements in health care for the long term effects of chlorodibenzodioxins rather than on soil remediation.
Other research has provided anecdotal evidence of dioxin biodegradation, but the data from these studies often is limited due to the high cost of chemical analysis, and the variance of the data is high due to inherent variations in soil sampling and extraction methods. One data point using 3 replicates cost about $1,000 for the Da Nang study. This limitation adds a layer of complexity to interpreting anecdotal results, which may rely on lower quality analytical results. The current research presents statistically reliable evidence that bioremediation will work for Agent Orange and dioxin residues. It may be too late to affect remedy selection for Da Nang, but two other former air bases and an estimated 26 smaller sites still need to be remediated. There is enormous potential value in research enabling a low-tech process, which can be conducted with local labor and moderate amount of outside funding.
Bioremediation also provides significant savings in greenhouse gas emission during treatment over thermal treatment, because the treatment focuses on mineralization of specific pollutants, rather than on burning the organic carbon bound tightly to the native soil. In fact, the microbial degradation process sequesters much of the available carbon into cell mass, which is then bound in the soil for a long time.
Publication of this research is expected to lead to more development, through field application, of a cost-effective solution to a serious environmental problem. Several additional bioremediation project papers are included to enlighten the interested reader. These technologies have gained a great deal of respect as they have become more cost-effective in practice.
Fullscale Removal of PCP from Pringle Post and Pole Site - Resuts of Bioremediation Cleanup in Pringle, South Dakota
Performance and Process Economics of Anaerobic Bioremediation of Toxaphene - Results of Bioremediation of Two Aerial Pesticide Sprayer Sites in Arizona
Rapid Removal of Toxaphene Using Anaerobic Bioremediation Technology - Results of Toxaphene Bioremediation Projects in New Mexico
Fullscale Removal of PCP from Granite Timber Post and Pole Soil - Results of PCP Bioremediation at Granite Timber near Philipsburg, Montana