On-site and in situ remediation technologies applicable to petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic
Petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites, associated with the contemporary and legacy effects of human activities, remain a serious environmental problem in the Antarctic and Arctic. The management of contaminated sites in these regions is often confounded by the logistical, environmental, legislative and financial challenges associated with operating in polar environments. In response to the need for efficient and safe methods for managing contaminated sites, several technologies have been adapted for on-site or in situ application in these regions. This article reviews six technologies which are currently being adapted or developed for the remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic. Bioremediation, landfarming, biopiles, phytoremediation, electrokinetic remediation and permeable reactive barriers are reviewed and discussed with respect to their advantages, limitations and potential for the long-term management of soil and groundwater contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons in the Antarctic and Arctic. Although these technologies demonstrate potential for application in the Antarctic and Arctic, their effectiveness is dependent on site-specific factors including terrain, soil moisture and temperature, freeze–thaw processes and the indigenous microbial population. The importance of detailed site assessment prior to on-site or in situ implementation is emphasized, and it is argued that coupling of technologies represents one strategy for effective, long-term management of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites in the Antarctic and Arctic.
Keywords: Petroleum hydrocarbons; remediation; Antarctica; Arctic; cold regions; contaminated site.
(Published: 7 September 2015)
Citation: Polar Research 2015, 34, 24492,http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v34.24492
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.