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  • Cited by 4
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

1 - Contamination, regulation, and remediation: an introduction to bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in cold regions

    • By Ian Snape, Contaminants Geochemist Working for the Australian Antarctic Division in Tasmania, Larry Acomb, Geosphere Inc., 3055 Seawind Drive, Anchorage AK 99516, USA, David L. Barnes, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755900, Fairbanks AK 99775, USA, Steve Bainbridge, Contaminated Sites Program, Division of Spill Prevention and Response, Department of Environmental Conservation, 610 University Avenue, Fairbanks AK 99709–3643, USA, Robert Eno, Department of Sustainable Development, Government of Nunavut, PO Box 1000, Stn 1195, Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0, Canada, Dennis M. Filler, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755900, Fairbanks AK 99775, USA, Natalie Plato, Department of Sustainable Development, Government of Nunavut, PO Box 1000, Stn 1195, Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0, Canada, John S. Poland, Analytical Services Unit, Queens University, Kingston ON K7L 3N6, Canada, Tania C. Raymond, Environmental Protection and Change Program, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia, John L. Rayner, Environmental Protection and Change Program, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia, Martin J. Riddle, Environmental Protection and Change Program, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia, Anne G. Rike, Dept. of Environmental Technology, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, PO Box 3930, Ullevaal Stadion, N-0806 Oslo, Norway, Allison Rutter, Analytical Services Unit, Queens University, Kingston ON K7L 3N6, Canada, Alexis N. Schafer, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Canada S7N 5A8, Steven D. Siciliano, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon SK S7N 5A8, Canada, James L. Walworth, Dept. of Soil Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, 429 Shantz Bldg. #38, Tucson AZ 85721, USA
  • Edited by Dennis M. Filler, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Ian Snape, David L. Barnes, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511535956.003
  • pp 1-37

Summary

Introduction

Oil and fuel spills are among the most extensive and environmentally damaging pollution problems in cold regions and are recognized as potential threats to human and ecosystem health. It is generally thought that spills are more damaging in cold regions, and that ecosystem recovery is slower than in warmer climates (AMAP 1998; Det Norske Veritas 2003). Slow natural attenuation rates mean that petroleum concentrations remain high for many years, and site managers are therefore often forced to select among a range of more active remediation options, each of which involves a trade-off between cost and treatment time (Figure 11). The acceptable treatment timeline is usually dictated by financial circumstance, perceived risks, regulatory pressure, or transfer of land ownership.

In situations where remediation and site closure are not urgent, natural attenuation is often considered an option. However, for many cold region sites, contaminants rapidly migrate off-site (Gore et al. 1999; Snape et al. 2006a). In seasonally frozen ground, especially in wetlands, a pulse of contamination is often released with each summer thaw (AMAP 1998; Snape et al. 2002). In these circumstances natural attenuation is likely not a satisfactory option. Simply excavating contaminants and removing them for off-site treatment may not be viable either, because the costs are often prohibitive and the environmental consequences of bulk extraction can equal or exceed the damage caused by the initial spill (Filler et al. 2006; Riser-Roberts 1998).