As Defined by the EPA, Bioremediation is the use of microbes to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater. Microbes are very small organisms, such as bacteria, that live naturally in the environment.

Bioremediation stimulates the growth of certain microbes that use contaminants as a source of food and energy.

Bioremediation stimulates the growth of certain microbes that use contaminants as a source of food and energy.

For bioremediation to be effective, the right temperature, nutrients, and food also must be present. Proper conditions allow the right microbes to grow and multiply—and eat more contaminants.

If conditions are not right, microbes grow too slowly or die, and contaminants are not cleaned up.

It may take a few to many months to clean up a site. depending on several factors. For example, bioremediation will take longer where:

The speed at which bioremediation works is dependent on several factors.

      • Contaminant concentrations are high or contaminants are trapped in hard-to-reach areas, like rock fractures and dense soil.
      • The contaminated area is large or deep
      • Conditions such as temperature, nutrients, and microbe population must be modified.
      • Cleanup occurs ex situ.

Bioremediation relies on microbes that live naturally in soil and groundwater. These microbes pose no threat to people and the planet.

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.

In-situ refers to bioremediation that happens at the contamination site.

Ex-situ refers to bioremediation that happens at a secondary location.

Aerobic bacteria need air to and reproduce.

Anaerobic digestion is the breakdown of wastes by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen.

Anaerobic bacteria are bacteria that live and reproduce in an environment containing no free or dissolved oxygen.

The breakdown of wastes by microorganisms without the presence of oxygen.

Living organisms, microscopic in size, that usually consist of a single cell. Most bacteria use organic matter for their food and produce waste products as a result of their life processes.

Bioaugmentation is the process of adding scientifically selected organisms into a wastewater microbial community in order to enhance the microbial community.

BOD refers to biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed (exertion) by aerobic organisms while stabilizing decomposable organic matter under aerobic conditions.

COD refers to a measure of the oxygen-consuming capacity of organic matter present in wastewater. Chemical oxygen demand is expressed as the amount of oxygen consumed from a chemical oxidant in mg/L during a specific test.

Dewatering is to remove or separate a portion of the water present in a sludge or slurry. To dry sludge so it can be handled and disposed of

A digester is a tank in which sludge is placed to allow decomposition by microorganisms. Digestion may occur under anaerobic (more common) or aerobic conditions.

Enzymes are organic substances (produced by living bacteria) that breakdown contaminates like fats oils and grease.

Extreme hazardous wastes are any hazardous waste or mixture of hazardous wastes that, if any human exposure should occur, may likely result in death, disabling personal injury, or illness during, or as a proximate result of, any disposal of such waste or mixture of wastes because of its quantity, concentration, or chemical characteristics.

Facultative bacteria can live under aerobic, anoxic, or anaerobic conditions.

FOGs refer to fats, oils, and grease. Drains and sewer pipes can become clogged from fats, oils, and grease and then overflow, releasing untreated wastewater.

A forced main is a pipe that carries wastewater under pressure from the discharge side of a pump to a point of gravity flow downstream.

Hydrogen sulfide gas is a gas with a rotten-egg odor that is produced under anaerobic conditions. Hydrogen sulfide gas is particularly dangerous because it dulls the sense of smell, becoming unnoticeable after you have been around it for a while; in high concentrations, it is only noticeable for a very short time before it dulls the sense of smell. The gas is very poisonous to the respiratory system, explosive, flammable, colorless, and heavier than air.

Sludge is the deposit of foreign materials on the bottom of streams or other bodies of water or on the bottom and edges of wastewater collection lines and appurtenances. Also called biosolids. However, biosolids typically refers to treated waste.

Bioaugmentation is when bacteria breakdown and digest sludge. 30% of digested sludge is removed as CO2, 70% of digested sludge is used to create new bacteria.

Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are acid producing bacteria sometimes require anaerobic environments and similar to SRB’s tend to live in biofilms

& sludge. The VFA’s are odorous themselves but also feed SRB’s and indirectly produces H2S.

Microbes create enzymes, enzymes break down waste, and then the microbes consume the broken down waste. The cycle continues until all the waste has been consumed. Enzymes are not alive; therefore, they're not capable of digesting waste. Instead, they act similarly to soap or detergent. For example, a microbial product will consume grease leaving only a small amount of water and CO2, which enters the waste stream. An enzymatic product will emulsify the grease; however, it all still remains, and is pushed into the waste stream.