EM and petroleum

An article about the use of EM in petroleum pollution with the link to the full article.

There exists microorganisms which derive their energy from waste products and other dead organisms and convert complex organic molecules into simpler inorganic forms. Microorganisms/microbes are the invisible scavenger force of Nature and provide a means to eliminate unwanted pollutants in the hazardous petroleum sludge. The prominent bacterial strains of pseudomonas sp of phototrophic bacteria contained in EM has been found capable of growing on alkanes, polycyclic hydrocarbons, salicylates, heterocyclics, phenolics and halogenated aliphatic and aromatic compounds. The bacteria rhodopseudomonas palustris can biodegrade benzene rings in the absence of oxygen. These bacteria secrete amino acids, nucleic acids, bioactive substances (hormones and enzymes) and sugars, which act as substrates for increasing beneficial microbial population. Lactic acid bacteria contain in the EM suppress harmful microorganisms and enhances decomposition of organic matter. The organic matter in the petroleum sludge provide food to the microorganisms, the production of many organic and inorganic acids increase the microbial population tremendously and hence hasten the bioremediation process.

The oxidation and reduction reactions carried out through bacteria detoxify the heavy metals by making them either more water soluble and less toxic or less water soluble and precipitated or volatilized. Since most of the metals exist in the combined form as oxides, hydroxy carbonates, carbonates, chlorides, sulphides, silicates, their interaction with the gases being produced in the sludge convert them to respective oxides, sulphides, carbonates, hydroxides, sulphates or other compounds. Thus the properties of heavy metals are changed. Alkali metals and alkaline earth metals are oxidized at a quicker rate at low temperature and at high temperature all the metals are oxidized.

During an experiment [Chapter-5] the pure petroleum oily sludge was treated with various products of EM, anaerobic bioremediation was maintained and within a period of six weeks it was converted to biosludge. Finally mixing with equal quantity of dried soil material the biosludge was converted to biofertilizer. With EM treatment Ba was reduced up to 85%, Pb, Fe, Zn, Ni up to 50% in the biosludge while As, Cr, Cu and Mn showed no significant change.

The biofertilizer was applied to the soil on the bases of 10% by weight of the furrow-slice soil material keeping in view the higher content of organic matter of contained in the biofertilizer and to minimize the concentration of heavy metals. Onion crop was sown. EM solutions were applied with each irrigation in order to continue further decompose the organic matter and reduce the contents of heavy metals present in the biofertilizer.

The contents of heavy metals in the onions grown with this biofertilizer were comparable with those grown with FYM and these were far less than the limits given by FAO and Food Nutrition Laboratory. Thus, it can safely be concluded that EM Technology ensures not only the proper disposal of petroleum sludge but also its safe application in various fields of agriculture.

In short, the use of EM Technology for the proper disposal of petroleum oily sludge is safe to handle, easy to apply, cost effective and environment friendly. EM Technology converts the useless, wasteful petroleum sludge into useful and beneficial resource. From environment protection point of view EM Technology is the future of the world as being “An Earth Saving Revolution”.

EM Research Organization, Regional Office for Middle East & Central Asia. 3