The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

# Bioremediation - Economic and Regulatory Considerations

#### Economic and Regulatory Considerations

Economic considerations

Bioremediation of soils is typically a very affordable technique especially if the main contaminant is organic. Costs range from $30-$750 per cubic yard of treated soil (Sharma & Reddy, 2004). From 1989-1997, the cost of 22 bioremediation projects carried out at superfund sites ranged from $13-$500 per cubic yard of treated soil (USEPA, 2001a). 45 bioventing projects also carried out at superfund sites showed a wide range in costs from $1.36-$333 per cubic yard of soil.

Bioremediation of groundwater is also cheap if the main contaminant is organic. Costs can range form $33-$200 per 1000 gallons of treated water (Sharma & Reddy, 2004). The main cost in groundwater treatment methods usually comes from implementing pumping or injection systems.

Regulatory considerations

For soil treatment, there are a number of considerations. Air emissions must be controlled and seepage of contaminants into the groundwater must be controlled. If ex-situ methods are used then VOCs cannot be allowed to enter the atmosphere (Sharma & Reddy, 2004) unless carefully monitored and released within hazardous air pollution limits.

In the treatment of groundwater, there are other considerations. If water is drawn from the ground it may be considered a contaminated material according to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Sharma & Reddy, 2004). Drawing water may be considered an active management and disposal restrictions may apply. Once contaminant levels are reduced to specific thresholds then the treated water may be injected into a usable aquifer.