Leaking underground storage tanks are widespread throughout the United States. It is estimated that there are 1.4 million underground gasoline storage tanks in the United States, with as many as 75,000 to 100,000 that may be leaking. In Indiana alone, more than 3,500 of the 15,000 registered underground storage tank facilities have reported leaks. Conventional remediation methods often involve pump-and-treat schemes for contaminated water, and excavation and burial of contaminated soil in hazardous waste landfills. These methods increase the risk of exposure to pollutants for workers and local residents. Furthermore, these methods merely involve the transfer of pollutants from one environmental compartment to another, and are rather costly. Bioremediation is another method available for the restoration of contaminated sites. Advantages of bioremediation include competitive cost, pollutant destruction, and minimal environmental disturbance. By biodegrading organic pollutants on site, exposure to pollutants is minimized and costs are reduced. Bioremediation can potentially be an effective, low-cost, and terminal solution for remediation of sites contaminated with organic pollutants. The goal of bioremediation is to accelerate the biodegradation rates of naturally occurring microorganisms that utilize organic pollutants as a food source. The overall objective of this study was to determine whether bioremediation is a feasible treatment option for contaminated Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) soils. All INDOT soils tested had three things in common. First, a thriving heterotrophic microbial population existed. Second, bacteria capable of degrading benzoate (a toluene surrogate) were present in all soils. This study provides some evidence that physical, rather than microbial, parameters control biological processes in soil. Based on these results as a whole, it is concluded that in-situ bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons is a treatment option which should have increased utilization.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Purdue University/Indiana Department of Transportation JHRP

    Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering
    West Lafayette, IN  United States  47907-1284

    Indiana Department of Transportation

    100 N Senate Avenue
    Indianapolis, IN  United States  46204

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Nies, L
    • Mesarch, M
  • Publication Date: 1996-9-16


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 38 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00728364
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/IN/JHRP-95/13, Proj No. C-36-68A, Final Report
  • Contract Numbers: 2008
  • Created Date: Nov 4 1996 12:00AM