LITOCLEAN opts for the sustainable remediation

Each time more, the company applies techniques like the bioremediation and explores its viability in different scenarios.

The sector of soil and groundwater decontamination opts, increasingly, for remediation techniques that are sustainable and respectful to the environment. In this context, the bioremediation plays an important roll and is one of the most studied methods nowadays, a bet for the present and for the future.

LITOCLEAN has been applying bioremediation for some time now, in projects of hydrocarbons decontamination and other petroleum products. It has also researched the viability in cases of chlorinated organic compounds.

The bioremediation is the use of bacteria metabolism in order to degrade contaminants. The bacteria use the energy liberated from the degradation to grow and reproduce, what allows the process to function by itself while there are contaminants presents on the ecosystem. During the course of the degradation, that must be complete, the bacteria can transform the contaminants in innocuous compounds, such as the ethane and ethene, for example.

Within the framework of a collaboration project between the Government of Catalonia, university and private sector, LITOCLEAN and the Autonomous University of Barcelona have tutored an industrial doctorate about the workability of bioremediation in sites contaminated by organochlorinated compounds. In this research, where the University of Barcelona have also participated, many sites contaminated by ethene and chlorinated methane, including when mixed with other contaminants families. The results have been positive and encouraging. Two of them were executed on a laboratory scale, but in a third, a pilot test was implemented in situ, applied to a global scale.

In this last case, after the laboratory analysis, it has been confirmed that the required bacteria were present and active in the aquifer, and that they could partially degrade the contaminants. Furthermore, the studies have shown that to obtain the complete degradation until the detoxification, it was necessary to add and stimulant, since it enhanced the bacteria capacity to degrade contaminants.

Lately, the in situ pilot test confirmed the hypothesis that were observed on the laboratory, what allowed establishing a methodology for the successful implementation of bioremediation to the whole site.

This research have allowed to detoxify the aquifer successfully, and to increase LITOCLEAN knowledge about the processes of bioremediation in different scenario, something that will be furthered studied within the company, which strongly bets for the innovation and sustainable techniques.

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