BIOREMEDIATION using natural microbial activity is being used to clean up the site of a former oil refinery near Edinburgh.
Contaminated land consultant and contractor Celtic Technologies is carrying out the second phase of works at the Pumpherston site of BP subsidiary Youngs Petroleum Light & Mineral Oil Company.
The site is contaminated with sludges from the shale refining process which contain oil hydrocarbons and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
Soil conditioning agents, nutrients and other amendments are added to the sludge in treatment beds. Microbial degradation of contaminants within the sludge is being achieved in about eight weeks per batch. The resulting inert humic soil is suitable for use as cover for the proposed golf course development on the site.
The work follows an initial phase last autumn when, after a field trial of the method, some 2,000m3 of sludge was cleaned. Cardiff-based Celtic is now treating a further 4,500m3 of sludge.
Celtic claims bioremediation is now a proven alternative to off site disposal of contaminated soils and industrial wastes and offers spectacular cost savings.