The process involves bacterial microbes eating away the toxic oil.

Bio-remediation process begins in Chennai to dispose over 120 tonnes of toxic sludge
news Chennai oil spill Saturday, February 04, 2017 - 20:07

A week after two ships collided near Kamarajar Port in Ennore causing an oil spill, the Indian Oil corporation (IOC) has come forward to dispose the toxic sludge, using the bio-remediation process.

A pit measuring 200 metres in length and one foot in depth has been set up at Kamarajar Port. Polythene sheets were then laid on the ground as a safeguard for the soil.  

Speaking to The News Minute, Dr SK Puri, Deputy General Manager, Research and Development department, IOC, said, “The bio-remediation process is a very safe process and through this, we will dispose the oil. We will put all the sludge into the soil and mix it with microbes and nutrients homogeneously. All this will be mixed properly and spread out. We will monitor it and take samples. After three months, we will check if the oil is below permissible limit or not.”

He went on to explain the bacterial microbes will eat away the oil and once the treatment is complete, the soil can be used for any purpose.  “We are using one kilogram of microbe for one tonne of sludge. We have bought about 500 kilograms of microbe and 1000 kilograms of nutrients, it is enough for 500 tonnes of sludge,” he said.

Puri also observed that the bio-remediation process has been used extensively in the past, stating, “It’s used for the sludge that is generated in our oil terminal and refinery. Moreover, in the past, this technology was successfully employed to remediate oil spills that occurred on the Mumbai coast in 2010.”

The Indian Oil Corporation was contacted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas for the process to be conducted in Chennai. Two scientists, Dr SK Puri and Dr Manoj Kumar Upreti are coordinating the work together with the Kamarajar Port and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

A press bulletin issued by the Coast Guard on Saturday stated 121 tonnes of oil sludge has been recovered since the accident on January 28.  Clean-up operations are continuing along the coast of Chennai with around 1200 personnel from the Coast Guard, Navy, Fire and Rescue department and student and NGO volunteers pitching in. The focus of clean-up efforts has been between RK Nagar Kuppam and Chennai Harbour, read the press release.

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