There are so many articles out there that reference soil treatment and how it’s good for your plants or bad for the environment. All this information can be so confusing unless you truly understand soil treatment and what it entails. Check out these need-to-know facts about soil treatment.
What is Soil Treatment
There are different types of soil treatment. There is the mechanical treatment of soil before planting such as cultivating and plowing the field before planting. Another kind of soil treatment is using chemicals or to remove harmful chemicals. Most commonly we hear of soil treatment referencing the latter.
Soil can become contaminated in several ways, but most commonly it is because of humans carelessly disposing of waste. When an unnatural chemical seeps into the soil it can kill the living organisms within the soil and make the ground incapable of growing anything. As these chemicals leach deeper into the ground they can also contaminate nearby water sources as well.
Soil Treatment Methods
When attempting to clean the soil and make it capable of supporting plant life and other organisms there are different methods or remediation options available.
Bioremediation is a process that is helpful when trying to break down organic based contaminants. Bioremediation uses microorganisms to break down the contaminants within the soil.
Oxygen is sometimes used during this treatment in a process called Bioventing. The oxygen is blown into or pulled out of the soil to help the microorganisms grow better allowing them to break down the contaminants more quickly.
Soil Vapor Extraction uses pipes that have been put into the ground so that air can be pumped into the soil and then pulled out again. This is useful with contaminants like gasoline that can be easily turned into a vapor. The contaminated air is then treated as it is extracted from the soil so that it can be safely released into the environment.
Soil Washing is a good method for small contaminated areas where the soil can be removed and safely transported to a location where the contaminants can be collected and treated after the washing process is complete. The contaminated soil is washed with water or an environmentally safe solvent that will clean the soil and make it safe to be returned to the area from which it was removed.
Incineration is a soil treatment process that is good for hazardous contaminants that are safe to be burned at low temperatures and result in a safe byproduct that will not contaminate the air. Any hazardous material that needs a higher burning temperature or creates an unsafe byproduct does not qualify for this type of treatment.
Natural Attenuation is a soil treatment allows the naturally occurring biological processes to take place on their own. Soil naturally contains microorganisms and bacteria that will break down non-hazardous contaminants slowly over time. This process is a good option if there is little chance that the contaminated soil will pose a threat to the environment around it.