EPA confirmed nearly 3,000 new releases from underground storage tanks (USTs) during fiscal year 2010, bringing the cumulative total to 491,572 releases since 1984. Although progress has been made in cleaning these sites, over 96,000 of them still require remedial action. (Source: Semiannual Report of UST Performance Measures, Mid Fiscal Year 2010, 3/31/2010.). These UST leaks pose a grave threat to human health and the environment by contaminating groundwater and soil.
As an alternative to traditional pump-and-treat, biopiles can reduce concentrations of petroleum constituents in excavated soils through biodegradation. This technology involves heaping contaminated soils into piles and stimulating aerobic microbial activity within the soils through the aeration and/or addition of minerals, nutrients, and moisture. The enhanced microbial activity results in degradation of adsorbed petroleum-product constituents through microbial respiration. Biopiles are aerated most often by forcing air to move by injection or extraction through slotted or perforated piping placed throughout the pile.
This course is intended for environmental engineers who wish to expand their knowledge of alternative methods of site remediation. The course material is extracted from Chapter 4 (October 1994), of the EPA publication, EPA 510-R-04-002, How to Evaluate Alternative Cleanup Technologies for Underground Storage Tank Sites: A Guide for Corrective Action Plan Reviewers. Updated May 2004.
The student must pass a multiple-choice quiz of ten (10) questions to earn PDH credits.
Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained
This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:
- Advantages & disadvantages of biopiles
- Evaluation process to determine viability of biopiles
- Influence of soil, contaminant, and climatic properties on biopile performance
- Evaluation of biopile design
- Evaluation of operation & remedial progress monitoring plans
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