Keep it Clean & Green
When dealing with oil and other hazardous contaminants on vessels and in marine facilities, there are some common misconceptions about the way hydrocarbons biodegrade. “The words biodegrade and bioremediate are not interchangeable,” said Jay H. Murland, CEO of EnviroLogic Biobased Technologies Inc. who manufacturer a line of over 30 EPA-approved bioremediation products.
To explain further, let’s look at the difference between the processes of bioremediation, bioaugmentation and encapsulation.
• Bioremediation occurs naturally all over the earth. If you spill oil in your yard, for instance, Mother Nature activates microbes/ bacteria and nutrients present in the soil, to literally “eat” the oil/contaminate/hydrocarbon. The by-product of this eating/digestion, is water and harmless gas. The microbes, etc., grow a colony and continue to “eat” the hydrocarbon contamination until it’s gone. When their food source is gone, they implode and “eat” each other. Mother Nature can take years to accomplish this task. Bioremediation products on the market today can accomplish it in days or weeks, with the same results.
• Bioaugmentation is a process where, after analysis of the contaminant, the soil at the contaminated site is “augmented” by a variety of products based on the contamination threat. These can range from nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and even bacteria like that found in bioremediation products. In fact, in some instances, bioremediation products can be used as part of the bioaugmentation process to speed it up.
• Encapsulation basically “encapsulates” the hydrocarbon pollution which keeps the contaminants “locked in” until the asteroids arrive. Therefore, one of the key things to look out for when using products that can help remediate contaminants is to ensure they don’t add to hydrocarbon disposal costs. Be sure that they are neutral pH and do not contain hazmat properties.
For example, for more than eight years, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) has been using NavalKleen and NavalKleen II for the removal of grease and oil from the surface of equipment, bilges and in its oil water systems, including their oily water separators with oil water content monitors. René Fry, Chemical and Fuel Programs Manager reports that oily waste has gone from a ship to shore process where the contractors would pay the ship $0.05 to $0.15 a gallon for the waste to the point where MSC would pay the same people up to $2.40 a gallon to remove the small waste stream.
“It is by far our single most popular cleaner onboard MSC’s ships,” he said. “Our experience with NavalKleen and NavalKleen II is that it breaks up the emulsions in the oily water mixtures so that the oily water separators can process the water out of the waste stream and minimize the amount of oil being processed ashore. He also says since using the product, the company has rarely seen its oil content monitor read anything above 5ppm, which has significantly reduced their waste oil bill from $19 million to below $7 million.”
NavalKleen was also used aboard Maersk’s SV Atlantic during several transatlantic voyages to remove oil residue from the vessel’s 600 metric ton capacity double bottom ballast water tank after a crack was formed between it and the No. 6 heavy fuel oil tank, resulting in the water inside the ballast tank becoming heavily contaminated. After laborious mechanical cleaning and disposal of the waste water, oil residue still remained. NavalKleen II was added and lab tests were conducted during several of the voyages with significantly positive results. “This is a highly effective product for mitigating oil contamination of ballast tanks,” said Jeff Phelps, Vessel Manager, Maersk Line Ltd.
The simple addition of water (salt or fresh) activates EnviroLogic’s products. They are safe and easy to use and therefore require very little training of personnel. No masks and gloves are necessary as the products are non-toxic and non-caustic.
In fact, several lab tests carried out at AGES Laboratories in Pennsylvania on EnviroLogic’s Spillaway Powder revealed significant reduction of petroleum hydrocarbons. Within minutes, the product began digesting the contaminants. Ninety percent of the hydrocarbon contaminant was gone in the first hour and 98 percent in the first 24 hours.
Bioremediation isn’t just for the big oil spills. These products are best used in preventative daily routine maintenance on everything from decks and galley floors to hydraulic lines, machinery and more.
In a real-world test that is comparable with the hydrocarbon issue in the marine environment, EnviroLogic’s Spillaway+ and FleetKleen products were combined to produce a paste-like substance that was spread over an old greasy machine that had sat outside for over six years at the back of a Delta Airlines facility. Once the bioremedial material had sat for a few minutes, water was sprayed over and the machine was left overnight.
During the night, it rained hard and in the morning Greg Cox, PSA and Environmental Coordinator for Delta, who had carried out the test with a colleague, was astonished at the result. “One of the best advantages aside from its ability to clean the deepest crevices and cracks on any surface is the added benefit of cost-savings and time,” he states. “This doesn’t require any heavy cleaning and you don’t have to sweep or pick up the residue and have it hauled away.”
Bioremediation products should be sophisticated enough to provide the exact formula targeted at the right type of contamination according to Envirologic’s Murland. “EnviroLogic’s Spillaway+ brand products use a refined technology that encourages growth and reproduction of contaminant-specific, non-pathogenic, naturally occurring microorganisms to enhance bioremediation,” said Murland. “We certainly support the best management practice of using these products in all areas, but especially in all open systems such as bilges, semi-closed systems and closed systems.”
John Paparone, Principal of Environmental Solution, Inc., sells and distributes more than 30 EPA-approved EnviroLogic Biobased Technologies Inc. products to marine and other industrial industries.
(As published in the August 2014 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeReporter)