As the remediation business has changed JRW has strived to stay in the forefront of technology development to improve substrate distribution and performance as well as prove out concepts for the remediation of emerging contaminants. We recognize that the keys to a successful bioremediation program are understanding the conditions limiting substrate distribution and optimizing microbial metabolism. If you can’t get proper distribution, you won’t be able to promote the right microbial activity to transform your contaminant.
Although this is a basic concept of enhancing bioremediation, it is still not widely ingrained in the consulting industry. A great example is the evolution of the concept of the use of emulsified vegetable oil (EVO). Early work concentrated on the slow dissolution properties of vegetable oil in order to provide a long lasting substrate. It was quickly recognized that neat vegetable oil dissolves slowly but it also has properties that can limit its distribution in the subsurface. The perceived solution was to emulsify neat oil to overcome some of those distribution issues. Initially field emulsions were used and then pre-emulsified products were introduced to improve product quality.
Since the idea was to obtain better distribution, the race quickly revolved around how to make smaller emulsion particles. The industry settled into this paradigm until the overall benefits of EVO were well documented and proven on large numbers of sites. As more companies entered the market a move to reduce costs began to permeate the industry. This led to an apparent attempt to move toward less expensive common emulsions with little regard toward particle size. In other words, cost trumped particle size, and presumably, possibly distribution as the industry seemed to reverse itself in regards to particle size. The interesting thing is that the very basic concept of providing proper substrate distribution to attain and maintain conditions conducive to promoting complete degradation of the constituent of concern within the treatment zone hasn’t changed. Maybe how to accomplish this has.
JRW recognizes that there is not one perfect substrate applicable to all sites. Some substrates like the highly soluble WILCLEAR® family of substrates (WILCLEAR® 60% sodium lactate concentrate and WILCLEAR Plus® lactate plus Accelerite®) are appropriate for a wide range of approaches but some situations can benefit from less soluble substrates like LactOil® soy microemulsion and ChitoRem® chitin complex or even combinations of subtrates. This flexibility allows the practitioner the opportunity to concentrate their resources on how to attain and maintain the proper subsurface conditions while optimizing costs to reach the goals of their project. Contact JRW to discuss options to address your specific situation.