Oil in the Soil

by Stewart Mountain, P.E., Sr. Engr.; Integrated Sci. and Tech. Inc., Marietta, GA,
Aaron Hullman, P.E., (A.M.ASCE), Proj. Engr.; Integrated Sci. and Tech. Inc., Marietta, GA,
Mario Verdibello, P.E., Proj. Mgr. for Int. Proj.; Foster Wheeler Envir., Milan, Italy,
Giorgio Andreotti, Geologist and Proj. Mgr.; AGIP S.P.A., Milan, Italy,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 11, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


An oil well blowout in northern Italy contaminated about 1,500 ha of agricultural land primarily used to cultivate rice. The cleanup team decided to use bioremediation techniques because traditional excavation and disposal of contaminated soil in a landfill would completely destroy the highly productive rice fields. To return the fields to production, the well's owner initiated a $45 million bioremediation project using several cleanup techniques, depending on the nature of the contamination. Two 135 m long and 50 m wide biopiles were built to clean up the most heavily contaminated soil�about 26,000 m�. Two years of landfarming reduced total petroleum hydrocarbon levels over about 485 ha from as much as 10,000 mg/kg to less than 50 mg/kg. In addition, bioventing, bioslurping, and intrinsic bioremediation helped remediate permeable soils in the vadose zone and some groundwater.

Subject Headings: Soil pollution | Wells (oil and gas) | Pollution | Permeability (soil) | Non-renewable energy | Crops | Agricultural wastes

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