Bioremediation of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Soil - A Case Study at Newmont Ghana Gold Limited – Ahafo Kenyasi

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The study investigated the degradation rate of hydrocarbon contaminated soil using indigenous micro-organism. Contaminated soil containing oil and grease level and total petroleum hydrocarbon levels (mg/kg) of 3.43 x 104and 2.15x 104 respectively was bioremediated by blending 2Kg of the hydrocarbon contaminated soil with portions of compost, topsoil and fertilizer (fertilizer). The soil was inoculated with the above mentioned nitrogen sources and monitored for a period of seven(7) weeks until significant degradation occurred for the compost and topsoil hydrocarbon contaminated soil blend and eight(8) weeks for the fertilizer-hydrocarbon contaminated soil blend by which time there had been significant degradation. Specific portions of compost, topsoil and fertilizer were mixed with the hydrocarbon contaminated soil to achieve 0.2%, 0.8%1.4%, and 2.0% nitrogen levels within the various blends. The samples were placed under wooden structure covered with polythene sheets. The experiment was replicated three times in randomized complete block design. Each block contained 13 different treatments with one Control sample. At the end of the experiment, the concentrations of most of the selected treatments were reduced by up to 95% degradation. Oil and grease and Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) recorded 8.09 and 8.27 % degradation respectively in the control experiments. Microbial activities were shown to correlate with the reduction in hydrocarbon contents of the soil. Statistically (p<0.05), there were significant differences in all the treatments within the compost, topsoil and fertilizer hydrocarbon contaminated soil blends. Soil analyses shows that augmenting the nitrogen levels in the various treatments have potentials to ameliorate hydrocarbon levels with increases in microbial numbers. Among all the blends, the nitrogen levels 0.2% , 0.8% , 1.4% and 2.0% of the compost gave the best performance on the hydrocarbon degradation.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science, 2011