Milorganite is a dry granulated lawn fertilizer produced from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) biosolids. This treatability study was conducted to compare the performance of Milorganite as a nutrient source (nitrogen and phosphorus) in the remediation of diesel fuel contaminated
soil to that of Scott's Turf Builder (STB), a commercial lawn fertilizer. Test chambers were constructed and the experiment designed following guidelines for biopiles, an ex-situ method of bioremediation in which the growth of indigenous soil microbes is stimulated by the addition of
nutrients, moisture, and oxygen. Performance was evaluated based on analytical measurements of diesel range organics (DRO) and compared to values of DRO calculated from respiration test data. Temperature, pH, and microbial densities were also measured over the course of the 12-week study.
Results indicate that Milorganite performed comparably to STB; a 95–97% reduction in DRO was achieved over the 12 weeks of the study using either nutrient source. There was good agreement between DRO values calculated from respiration test data and those from analytical test results.
However, the respiration test results indicate a different mechanism of contaminant degradation may be at work in the Milorganite amended chambers than is occurring in the STB amended chambers. There was a stronger correlation between chamber temperature and nutrient concentration for Milorganite
than for STB. Likewise, there was a stronger correlation between microbial density and nutrient concentration for Milorganite than for STB. Milorganite amended chambers resulted in a pH increase over initial values.
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