Bioremediation is an environmental remediation process involving the use of microorganisms to aid in the destruction of contaminants (microbial metabolism). Essentially, it relies on microbes to break down impacts in the soil or groundwater.
Bioremediation may be useful on a variety of site conditions, especially where other remedial strategies are not possible or are less cost efficient. For contamination that is difficult to access (under a building foundation, for example), bioremediation may be more efficient than other methods.
Microbial metabolism involves biochemical reactions or pathways in an organism that result in activity, growth, and reproduction of that organism. Chemical processes involved in microbial metabolism consist of reactants, contaminants, oxygen, or other electron acceptors, which convert metabolites to well‐defined products.
To perform a bioremediation, biological amendments are injected mechanically into the subsurface at prescribed intervals. These biological amendments are compounds specific to the desired metabolic pathways and will vary by site and contamination type. Multiple treatment applications are often needed and monitoring programs must be undertaken to confirm the effectiveness of this remedial method. Treatment processes using this method generally have a slower reaction rate (remediation can take 2 to 5 years or longer) and may be seasonally influenced.
When the treatment is finished. chemical tests can be used to confirm that the soil meets the site standards and applicable guidelines.