Figure 4-11: Typical Biopile for Solid Phase Bioremediation
Biopile treatment is a full-scale technology in which excavated soils are
mixed with soil amendments and placed on a treatment area that includes leachate
collection systems and some form of aeration. It is used to reduce concentrations of
petroleum constituents in excavated soils through the use of biodegradation. Moisture,
heat, nutrients, oxygen, and pH can be controlled to enhance biodegradation.
treatment area will generally be covered or contained with an impermeable liner to
minimize the risk of contaminants leaching into uncontaminated soil. The drainage
itself may be treated in a bioreactor before recycling. Vendors have developed proprietary
nutrient and additive formulations and methods for incorporating the formulation into the
soil to stimulate biodegradation. The formulations are usually modified for site-specific
Soil piles and cells commonly have an air distribution system buried under the soil to
pass air through the soil either by vacuum or by positive pressure. The soil piles in this
case can be up to 20 feet high (generally not recommended, 2-3 meters maximum). Soil piles
may be covered with plastic to control runoff, evaporation, and volatilization and to
promote solar heating. If there are VOCs in the soil that will volatilize into the air
stream, the air leaving the soil may be treated to remove or destroy the VOCs before they
are discharged to the atmosphere.
Biopile is a short-term technology. Duration of operation and maintenance may last a
few weeks to several months. Treatment alternatives include static processes such as:
prepared treatment beds, biotreatment cells, soil piles, and composting.
A detailed discussion of these data elements is provided in Subsection 2.2.1 (Data Requirements for Soil, Sediment,
and Sludge). The first steps in preparing a sound design for biotreatment of contaminated
- Site characterization.
- Soil sampling and characterization.
- Contaminant characterization.
- Laboratory and/or field treatability studies.
- Pilot testing and/or field demonstrations.
Site, soil, and contaminant characterizations will be used to:
- Identify and quantify contaminants.
- Determine requirements for organic and inorganic amendments.
- Identify potential safety issues.
- Determine requirements for excavation, staging, and movement of contaminated soil.
- Determine availability and location of utilities (electricity and water).
Laboratory or field treatability studies are needed to identify:
- Amendment mixtures that best promote microbial activity.
- Potential toxic degradation byproducts.
- Percent reduction and lower concentration limit of contaminant achievable.
- The potential degradation rate.
Technologies for Site Cleanup: Annual Status Report (ASR), Tenth Edition,
Technologies: Field Scale Demonstration Project in North America,
Technology Cost Compendium - Year 2000
Applicability of Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment Technologies to
RCRA Waste Streams and Contaminated Media, August 2000, EPA 542-R-00-004
of Remediation Case Studies, Volume 4, June, 2000, EPA
California Base Closure Environmental Committee (CBCEC), 1994. Treatment
Technologies Applications Matrix for Base Closure Activities, Revision 1,
Technology Matching Process Action Team, November, 1994.
Guide to Documenting and Managing Cost and Performance Information for
Remediation Projects - Revised Version, October, 1998, EPA 542-B-98-007
Hartz, A.A. and R.B. Beach,
1992. "Cleanup of Creosote-Contaminated Sludge Using a Bioslurry Lagoon,"
in Proceedings of the HMC/Superfund '92, HMCRI, Greenbelt, MD.
Norris, et al., 1994. Handbook of Bioremediation, EPA-RSKERL,
Lewis Publishers, CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Boulevard, Boca Raton, FL 33431.
Pope, D.F. and J.E. Matthews, 1993. Bioremediation Using the Land Treatment
Concept, EPA Report EPA/600/R-93/164.
Sims, J.L., et al., 1989. Bioremediation of Contaminated Surface Soils,
EPA, RSKERL, Ada, OK, EPA Report EPA/600/9-89/073.
von Fahnestock, F.M., et al., 1996. Biopile Design and Construction Manual,
Navel Facilities Engineering Service Center Technical Memorandum, Port Hueneme, CA,
Points of Contact:
General FRTR Agency Contacts
Technology Specific Web Sites:
Government Web Sites
Non Government Web Sites
A list of vendors
offering Ex Situ Biological Soil Treatment is available from EPA
REACH IT which combines information from three established EPA databases,
the Vendor Information System for Innovative Treatment Technologies (VISITT),
the Vendor Field Analytical and Characterization Technologies System (Vendor
FACTS), and the Innovative Treatment Technologies (ITT), to give users access to
comprehensive information about treatment and characterization technologies and
Health and Safety: