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Soil Remediation

Soil remediation is a necessary step to keep the land in optimum conditions. In the industrialized world that we live today contaminants are found everywhere especially in the soil. The use of non biodegradable detergents, pesticides, heavy metals, polluted water and many more polluting agents affect the quality of the land which impact our health.

As the soil gets more polluted any plant life that grows from it, will also be polluted resulting in a wide array of health problems for animals and humans consuming them. All important crops like potatoes require a clean soil to produce healthy food.

In order to maintain our land resources in good enough condition to produce high quality food the process known as soil remediation should be used. The process consists in the use of several techniques in order to revitalize the soil.

The first step before revitalizing the soil is to identify the pollutant.

Once the contaminant is known there are several methods that can be used to solve the problem:

- A very common technique that has been used for a long time is the solidification and stabilization.

The stabilization part consists in adding certain chemicals to the contaminated soil to make the pollutant agent more stable. The solidification stage requires the use of more chemicals to make contaminants more solid and prevent further damage to the land.

- Another simple method frequently used is the excavation method.

It basically consists in removing the affected area of the soil by taking it to a specific location. Once the soil reaches the designated area it can be treated with chemical oxidation if possible.

- When groundwater is contaminated the pump and treat method is frequently used.

The technique involves the use of a vacuum pump to remove the water from the soil and then absorb the contaminant by using a specific material. In case of biodegradable materials like volatile organic compounds (voc) and other petroleum derivates bioreactors are commonly used to reduce their concentration to an acceptable level. Activated carbon filters are also a great alternative to decontaminate groundwater.

Once the water has been removed, the soil is extracted as well to be treated. Once the treatment has been finished the clean soil is returned to its original area and the water is pumped back again.

- One interesting way used to clean the land in soil remediation is mycoremediation.

This technique uses fungi to reduce the pollutants in the soil. Oyster mushrooms, for example, have been used to effectively remove diesel oil. The aromatic hydrocarbons found in many derivatives of petroleum and some pesticides can be broken down into harmless waste by wood degrading mushrooms. The most important detail to remember when using mycoremediation is to use the appropriate fungal species with the right contaminant to obtain better results.

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