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Technology: New Remediation Process Speeds Cleanup

January 1, 1997

4 Min Read
Technology: New Remediation Process Speeds Cleanup

Billn Siuru

Integrated Waste Services Association A new technique using phosphorous to control and stimulate nature's natural detoxification abilities is cleaning up contaminated landfills, abandoned manufacturing facilities and the ground beneath old gas stations at a rapid pace.

Originally developed to decontaminate nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site (SRS), a 310-square mile, U.S. Department of Energy facility in Aiken, S.C., PHOSter is now being proposed as an economical and environmentally-friendly solution to soil contamination.

The technique is especially attractive for cleaning up smaller sites such as corner gas station lots - many of which are out of business. The properties remain abandoned due to the high cost and the time involved in conventional remediation techniques needed to make the properties valuable real estate again.

Bioremediation involves the use of naturally-occurring microorganisms to break down and destroy oil, gasoline and solvent contaminants in the soil. Phosphorous is a key ingredient in controlling this process and stimulating microorganism growth to achieve rapid decontamination.

PHOSter controls the time release on vapor-phase phosphorous into bioremediation systems. For example, in a bioventing process used to remediate an oil-contaminated site, air is drawn through the soil to stimulate aerobic bacteria which breakdown the contaminant. The PHOSter system allows a controlled amount of a relatively safe form of organic phosphorous to be added to the air to provide a uniform time release stimulation of biomass growth. With this technique, the operator can maximize oil degradation without overstimulating the microbes.

In both laboratory tests and field demonstrations, the PHOSter system overcomes other remediation techniques' limitations in their ability to control the addition of vapor-phase phosphorus to bioremediation systems. For example, one current technique supplies the phosphorous by adding liquid fertilizer solutions to the ground surface or to wells. In practice, this technique only influences a small area, often overstimulating them with negative consequences like formation clogging. Another technique that adds phosphoric acid vapor also overstimulates a relatively small area due to the acid's high solubility. Moreover, full-scale process control and efficient use of this second technique has yet to be demonstrated.

Major improvements were achieved, however, in the in situ destruction of contaminants where the PHOSter technique brought severely contaminated groundwater to drinking water standards. With this system, cleanup reportedly can be performed up to 10 times faster than previously possible with other techniques.

When added to a full-scale demonstration using horizontal well technology, the system's stimulation of in-digenous methanotrophs resulted in a major improvements in the in situ destruction of chlorinated solvents in soil and groundwater. In yet another test using bioventing, the bioremediation rate reportedly was increased by a factor of five within the first 40 hours of use.

For example, it takes approximately five years to clean up a typical five-acre site with very serious levels of contamination using previous techniques. By adding PHOSter to the remediation system, this time can be reduced to as little as two years, while decreasing costs by almost 40 percent.

To date, the process has been used for remediation at SRS and others sites. At least eight companies have obtained licenses to use this technique to clean up landfills, manufacturing facilities and even the former Jim Bo's Gas and Goodies store in downtown Aiken.

For more information, contact: Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 227 Gateway Drive, Aiken, S.C. 29803. (800) 228-3843; FAX: (803) 652-1898

Contracts Garb-Oil & Power Corp. and Garba-lizer Machinery Corp., sister companies based in Salt Lake City, have announced contracts with Imtech of Perth, Australia, and Alberta Recovery Technologies, Lacombe, Canada, for designing, manufacturing and in-stalling mechanical processes for processing off-road tires in Australia and the Alberta Province.

Metcalf & Eddy Inc., Branchburg, N.J., has been awarded a multi-million dollar remediation contract at a Super-fund site located in EPA Region II.


Synthetic Industries Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., has reported strong financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 1996. Net income for this quarter was $5.3 million or $0.90 per share, compared to a year-earlier net loss of $619,000 or $0.10 per share.

New Distributor

Galbreath Inc., Winamac, Ind., has named Gulfstream Waste Equip-ment, Pompano Beach, Fla., as its newest distributor.

New Facility

Dinverno Recycling, Detroit, has completed a 25,000 square foot, $1.5 million construction recycling center.


Aptus Inc., Lake-ville, Minn., has paid a $1,600 fine for past hazardous waste violations to the Min-nesota Pollution Control Agency.


Frank W. Norris, Jr. has been named director of sales and marketing for Maintainer Corp. of Iowa Inc., Sheldon, Iowa.


The state of Minnesota has reimbursed 19 businesses, counties and cities for their roles in cleaning up old, closed landfills across the state. The payment, totaling $7 million, is the third in a plan to reimburse eligible parties between $43 million and $46 million.


LFG Specialties Inc., Middleburg Heights, Ohio, has relocated their Cleveland, Ohio engineering and administration offices. The new address: 705 South Friendship Dr., New Concord, Ohio 43762. (614) 826-7686. Fax: (614) 826-4948.

Shred-Tech Chicago, Mount Pros-pect, Ill., has moved their Wood Dale, Ill., office to a new location. The new address: 1907 Busse Rd., Mount Pros-pect, Ill. 60056. (800) 323-1265. Fax: (847) 589-8102.

Web Site

Jacobs Vehicle Equipment Co., Bloomfield, Conn., has established a home page on the Internet: http:// www.jakebrake.com.

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