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

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Phytoremediation technology was employed to remediate hydrocarbon contaminated soil from Newmont Mining site using Chromolaena odorata (Siam Weed). Physicochemical, Microbiological, Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) and Oil and Grease were used as parameters in assessing the efficiency and optimization of the phytoremediation process of the hydrocarbon contaminated soil. Parameters such as pH, moisture content and temperature of the contaminated soil and the various media used for augmentation (Topsoil, Compost and Fertilizer) were determined using calibrated meters. Contaminated soils were analyzed for TPH (Infra-red method) and Oil and Grease (gravimetric method). The levels of these parameters in the contaminated soil were high and had thus reduced the nutrients in the soil responsible for plant growth. Topsoil, Compost and Fertilizer were used to augment the nutrient levels in the contaminated soil. Chromolaena odorata was then planted in the contaminated soils. As the plants matured, Oil and Grease/TPH mean values in the soil decreased to the barest minimum in the soil. The plants were subjected to analyses for Oil and Grease and TPH. Some plants picked at random and subjected to analyses showed contaminants stored at the root, leaf and stem zones. The percentage storage at the various sites were approximately 45%, 37% and 18% for the root, leaf and stem zones respectively. About 83% - 88% of the Oil & Grease/TPH concentrations in the contaminated soil were gotten rid of in the soil within the six months period that the experiment was carried out. Phytoremediation technology had worked for the degradation of contaminants in the soil and thus rendered the soil good for other useful purposes including agriculture and also to be kept for future reclamation activities.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Environmental Science, 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