Engine oil that has contaminated soil can prevent it from absorbing water, choking plant life and harming land for years. Soil remediation industries are constantly looking for technologies that will speed up the treatment of contaminated soils and not add to carbon emissions with extensive transport.
Drs. Kawina Robichaud, Miriam Lebeau, Sylvain Martineau and Marc Amyot of Canada have been studying the use of a mixture of horse manure and fertilizer to heal soils that have been contaminated by engine oil. The researchers noted that organic residues had the potential to be used in bioremediation.
The team created an experiment with the goal of sourcing materials within about 60 miles of their study site. The team placed soil in bins and artificially contaminated them with unused engine oil. They then added woodchips, spent brewer's grain and horse manure to the soil to see what, if anything, helped with remediation. Each of these was added to an inorganic fertilizer treatment to determine if they improved remediation when compared with the use of inorganic fertilizer alone.
They determined that the mixture of the horse manure and fertilizer was the only treatment more effective that the fertilizer alone for reducing petroleum hydrocarbons and emitting the least carbon dioxide. Additionally, the mixture didn't require that any water be added to provide optimal water content.
The scientists concluded that horse manure and fertilizer had the best potential to increase the speed and efficiency of remediating soil contaminated with motor oil.
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