We investigated the possibility of re-using remediated soils for new bioremediation projects by spiking these soils with waste oil sludge in laboratory based microcosms. The level of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) reduction was high (>80%) in naturally attenuated microcosms and was not significantly improved by biostimulation, bioaugmentation and the combined treatment of bioaugmentation and biostimulation by week 12. This indicated that the observed TPH reduction might have been related to the soil's inherent hydrocarbon-degrading potential. Microbial community analysis (16S rDNA and ITS-based Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis fingerprints) confirmed the dominance of hydrocarbon degrading genera such as Alcanivorax and Scedosporium. Cluster and Shannon diversity analysis revealed similar but stable bacterial and fungal communities in naturally attenuated and amended microcosms indicating that rapid reduction in TPH may not always be accompanied by changes in soil microbial communities. This study has therefore shown that soils previously used for bioremediation can have an improved hydrocarbon degrading potential which was successfully re-harnessed for new projects. This ability to re-harness this potential is attractive because it substantially reduces operational costs as no additional bioremediation treatments are needed. It can also extend a landfill's lifespan as soils can be re-used again before landfill disposal.
- 16S rDNA
- Biodegradation potential