Oil Spills - As long as the microbes can reach the hydrocarbon contaminants with the necessary oxygen, nutrients, moisture, and the temperature and pH are within the microbes working range, then remediation will be successful.
Successful Bioaugmentation with Microbes
Bioremediation of hydrocarbons is best accomplished with a process called Bio-augmentation. That is, the addition of a large number of selected, laboratory grown, standardized microorganisms to a contaminated matrix. These contaminant specific microbes capable of degrading these hydrocarbon compounds breaking them down into carbon dioxide and water. The microbes will survive and consume their contaminant food source until the unwanted pollutant is remediated. This is possible because the microbes use parts of the hydrocarbons to maintain their own metabolic process
Bioaugmentation can be used for in-situ and ex-situ soil and water remediation. It can be used in conjunction with traditional mechanical methods or on its own. Microbial bioaugmentation is most successful in treating the residual biofilms in the soil.
The primary objective of bioremediation is to provide the microbes with an environment that is optimum for their survival and reproduction, and in doing so you maximize the effectiveness of the bioreclamation.
Bioaugmentation and Bioremediation of oil spills with microbes requires a few criteria to be successful.
The first is the ability for the added microbes to reach the contaminant. This may sound like a simple concept, however, in some cases, mechanical intervention, tilling of the soil or land farming techniques may be recommended.
The second is oxygen, microbes require oxygen. Much of their requirement will come from the atmosphere. However, if the ground is compacted, the ground should be tilled or raked to allow as much oxygen as possible to permeate the soil.
The third is temperature. The working range is between 5-45º C (with 28º C being the optimum).
The fourth is pH. The microbes a have a working range of pH 6.5 to 8.5
The fifth is the addition of nutrients to the soil and moisture. The moisture content of the soil should be at least 20%, and in some areas, ground cover may be needed.