Evaluation of the effects of inorganic and organic fertilizers and activated carbon on bioremediation of soil contaminated with weathered crude oil
The objective of this study was designed to evaluate the effects of nutrients (inorganic NPK fertilizer and organic fertilizer) and adsorptive amendment agents (activated carbon) as well as their interactions on bioremediation of soil contaminated with Weathered Crude Oil (WECO). The organic fertilizer was made up of cattle dungs, pig dungs and poultry droppings mixtures. Box Behnken Design (BBD) of Response Surface Methodology (RSM) with three levels and three factors was used having inorganic NPK fertilizer (3 - 5 g), activated carbon (20 - 40g) and organic fertilizer (30 - 50 g) as independent variables and percentage WECO degradation as dependent variable (response) in a four weeks remediation period. Results of the study showed that WECO removal rate in soil is invariably dependent on the amount of nutrient and adsorptive agents. The optimum amount of nutrient and adsorptive amendment agents obtained to achieve a predicted maximum WECO removal of 66.24% are: inorganic NPK fertilizer, 4.19 g; activated carbon, 35.42 g and organic fertilizer, 48.94 g. At this predicted optimum amount, validation experiment revealed that 65.55% of WECO removal was achieved. Statistical analyses revealed the closeness of the experimental results to model predictions which thus show the reliability of the quadratic regression model. Therefore, organic and inorganic nutrients as well as adsorptive amendment alone and/or in combination enhances soil indigenous microbial density and activity which thereby accentuates petroleum hydrocarbons biodegradation and subsequently reduces the period of bioremediation and remediation cost.
Keywords: Activated carbon; Box-Behnken design; Crude oil; Nutrients; Regression model