What is Bioremediation? | 4 Real-World Examples of Bioremediation
If you need immediate assistance with crime scene biohazard remediation, give us a call.
BIOREMEDIATION BASICS: 4 TYPES OF BIOREMEDIATION WITH EXAMPLES
Environmental pollutants continue to be a major global concern. However, thanks to the evolution of bioremediation technology, we are able to diminish some of the damaging effects that these pollutants have had on our environment. The 4 examples below will help you gain a better understanding of bioremediation and its uses.
WHAT IS BIOREMEDIATION?
Bioremediation is the process of using biological organisms to break down hazardous substances into less toxic or nontoxic substances. According to Cornell University, “Bioremediation provides a technique for cleaning up pollution by enhancing the same biodegradation processes that occur in nature.” Although bioremediation happens naturally over time, scientists have developed ways to speed up the process through bioremediation technology that takes three factors into account: temperature, nutrients and food. If the conditions are not optimal for microbe growth, “ex situ” bioremediation is always an option. This is when the infected materials are transported offsite, remediated, and then returned. Depending on the situation, this may take years to complete.
4 EXAMPLES OF BIOREMEDIATION IN THE REAL WORLD
Sure, you may have learned about bioremediation as a concept in your high school science class, but how does it apply to real world situations? There are several branches of bioremediation, each with its own specialized methods and qualifications. It is important to note that while these classifications all strive toward the same goal, they are handled differently and their services do not overlap.
- Crime scene cleanup. Bioremediation in this sense involves the cleanup of blood and other bodily fluids that can pose health risks such as hepatitis, HIV, C.Diff and MRSA. Rather than using standard cleaning agents like bleach or ammonia, crime scene cleaners use enzyme cleaners to rid the scene of harmful substances. Aftermath is a company that specializes in this area of bioremediation and has more than 20 years of experience in the field. Aftermath does not remediate environmental pollutants.
- Contaminated soil cleanup. Human activity has introduced many toxic substances into the environment’s soil and groundwater. According to an essay published by Montana State University, “During bioremediation, microbes utilize chemical contaminants in the soil as an energy source and, through oxidation-reduction reactions, metabolize the target contaminant into useable energy for microbes.”
- Oil spill cleanup. You may remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened in 2010, where 3.19 million barrels of oil spilled off the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the effectiveness and lower cost of bioremediation, two methods were used to cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Bioaugmentation. The injection of a small amount of oil-degrading microbes into an affected area.
- Biostimulation. The addition of nutrients to stimulate the growth of innate oil-degrading microbes to increase the rate of remediation.
- Composting. Bioremediation is all around us, even sometimes within our homes. Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter in order to recycle materials into nutrient-rich soil additives. It’s a great alternative if you garden at home and don’t want your waste to wind up producing methane (a greenhouse gas) in a landfill.
There are several companies and government agencies that handle oil spill and contaminated soil cleanup. To learn more about these companies, this list can help.
Aftermath is committed to providing active leadership and support to the communities we serve through public education. To learn more about blood cleanup techniques, browse through some of our blogs.