Understanding the Process of Bioremediation

Bioremediation is a process designed to return or restore a contaminated site to a healthy and safe environment. Bioremediation is also used to treated different types of contaminated media, including:

  • Water
  • Soil
  • Subsurface material

At the heart of bioremediation is the alteration of certain environmental conditions as a means to stimulate the growth of microorganisms. The growth of the microorganisms in question work to degrade the pollutants that are the intended target of the bioremediation process itself. A great deal of the discussion of bioremediation is technical. With that said, once this more technical presentation is made, the discussion moves onward to how bioremediation can play a role in address in a biohazardous situation in a residence.

When it comes to understanding biohazard bioremediation, there are a number of factors that need to be borne in mind. These are:

  • Chemistry of bioremediation
  • Aerobic bioremediation
  • Anaerobic bioremediation
  • Additives and bioremediation

Chemistry of Bioremediation

The majority of bioremediation processes utilized in this day and age involve what technically is known as oxidation reduction reactions. These reactions are also known as redox. An oxidation reduction or redox reaction occurs when what is known as a chemical species donates an electron to another, different species. The different species accepts the electron. These two species involved in the process of bioremediation are known as the electron donor and the electron acceptor.

During the bioremediation process, the electron donor is said to be oxidized. The electron acceptor is said to be reduced. Common electron donors are:

  • Sugars
  • Fats
  • Alcohols
  • Natural organic materials
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Organic pollutants

Common electron acceptors in the bioremediation process are:

  • Oxygen
  • Nitrate
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Sulfate
  • Carbon dioxide

Electron acceptors also include pollutants like:

  • Chlorinated solvents
  • Explosives
  • Oxidized metals
  • Radionuclides

Aerobic Bioremediation

Aerobic bioremediation is the most common form of bioremediation. It is a process that involves the use of oxygen. Oxygen typically is the preferred electron acceptor for bioremediation because of what technically is known as its higher energy yield. In addition, oxygen is necessary for some enzymes or enzyme systems to initiate the degradation process.

Enzymes and enzymatic cleaners or agents oftentimes are used to address the remediation of certain substances that are part of biohazardous contaminations in homes, businesses, and in other locations. At least one of the more commonplace uses of the bioremediation process may sound familiar to a typical consumer. The more commonplace uses of bioremediation are:

  • Composting
  • Landfarming
  • Bioventing

Composting involves the acceleration of pollutant biodegradation by placing waste into piles and periodically mixing it. The mixing process increases oxygen transfer, causing the bioremediation process to speed up.

Landfarming involves contaminated soils, sludges, and sediment. These contaminated materials are incorporated into soil. Once incorporated, this soil containing the contaminated materials is turned over (or tilled). This results in increased oxygen transfer and an acceleration of bioremediation.

Bioventing is a process through which air flow is increased into an unsaturated zone of soil. This increases the rate of natural biological degradation.

Anaerobic Bioremediation

Anaerobic bioremediation is utilized to treat oxidized contaminants. This bioremediation process is designed to reduce so called electron receptors, including oxygen, nitrate, oxidized iron and manganese, and sulfate. This process is designed to accelerate the reduction and remediation of wastes and pollutants that include nitrates.

Additives and Bioremediation

As was alluded to previously, the bioremediation process can be speeded up. One way in which the bioremediation process is speeded up is through the introduction of certain additives. The most commonly utilized additives designed to speed up bioremediation are:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Oxygen
  • Carbon

Residential or Business Biohazard Cleanup and Bioremediation

Bioremediation can play a role in biohazard cleanup in a residence, business, or other location. A prime example is using bioremediation to thoroughly eliminate blood from a contaminated scene in a home or business.

The reality is that even when a blood spill appears to have been cleaned up, blood can lurk in grout, in the subflooring, below the floorboards, and elsewhere. As long as trace amounts of blood remains in a contaminated area, a danger remains. Remaining blood can cause additional damage to the structure of your home or business. Remaining blood can spread disease. Remaining blood can release foul odors into a residence of business. The utilization of an agent that takes advantage of the bioremediation process is an effective means of addressing remaining blood that lurks in cracks and corners in a home of business.

In many instances, the surest course to take to ensure that blood and other biologically hazardous materials fully are eliminated from a home or business is to retain the services of biohazard cleanup specialist. Although there are products on the market that employ bioremediation principles, the surest way to undertake this type of biohazardous cleanup is by hiring a professional with experience in this type of important remediation process.