Awg Ahmad Sallehin Awg Hussaini, Kasing Apun,
Mohd Hasnain Md Hussain, Micky Vincent
Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
One of the major challenges faced by oil refineries is safe disposal of oil sludge generated during the processing of crude oil, as improper disposal would lead to environmental pollution, particularly soil and groundwater contamination. In addition, most of oil sludge constituents are cancer causing agents and potent toxicants of the immune system. Among the techniques employed to decontaminate affected sites is bioremediation, which is the use of living organism (such as bacteria) to naturally degrade the pollutants. Bioremediation technique has been proven to be able to reclaim contaminated land, reduce the threat of groundwater pollution and enhance the degradation rate of oil’s constituents. As there are different types of oil sludge to be dealt with, the bioremediation process needs to be ‘customised’ in order to achieve an optimum level of degradation efficiency and cost effectiveness. To achieve this, ESP International (an established company in bioremediation of crude oil waste) has sought the expertise of UNIMAS scientists to conduct the study. The main aim is to identify and characterize the bacterial innoculum (including enzymes) involved in the biodegradation of oil sludge, and to evaluate their effectiveness in the bioremediation process. The group’s preliminary findings revealed the presence of active TPH-degrading bacteria, commonly found in soil, yet safe to human or animals; and they were proven to be promising species for effective biodegradation of oil sludge.