Bioremediation is introducing hydrocarbon-eating microbes into contaminated groundwater and soil to reduce the contamination.  The use of microbes to reduce contamination is increasing as the government gets serious about dealing with spill containment and multitudes of toxic waste sites around the United States.

This cleanup process is not instantaneous and can have limited success. Introduced organisms need to be maintained and directed to contaminated areas.

The use of microbes harnesses nature’s ultimate garbage disposal to do a dirty job.

Why use bioremediation?  According to the Environmental Protection Agency..

Bioremediation has the advantage of using natural processes to clean up sites. Because it may not require as much equipment, labor, or energy as some cleanup methods, it can be cheaper. Another advantage is that contaminated soil and groundwater are treated onsite without having to dig, pump, and transport them elsewhere

Bioremediation is cleaning up groundwater contaminated with dry cleaning solvent at the Iceland Coin Laundry Superfund site in New Jersey. To improve the conditions at the site for bioremediation, amendments were added. A solution of vegetable oil and baking soda was injected into the groundwater in an area of, particularly high contaminant concentrations. Bacteria also were added to increase the existing population of microbes. The treatment area is about 1800 feet long, 500 feet wide and extends 40 feet below ground.

Preliminary testing of the groundwater has shown that bioremediation is working and contaminant concentrations are decreasing. The objective is to continue to reduce the concentration of contaminants from 10 or more parts per billion to less than 1 part per billion.

use of microbes