Bioremediation of Antifreeze
Antifreeze (Ethylene glycol) is used at airports globally for the de-icing of aircraft wings. The antifreeze is sprayed on the wings to allow them to function in below freezing temperatures and then runs off, down onto the hard standing and into a drainage system. This drainage system carries the antifreeze and other water through a series of well points to a lake/pond/holding pool.
Antifreeze is poisonous to humans, animals and birds, leading to intoxication, severe diarrhoea, and vomiting, damaging the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys and, depending on the level of exposure, accumulation of the poison in the body can last weeks or months before causing death. Ethylene glycol should be handled carefully and disposed of properly.
S-200 Oilgone® and PRP are 100% natural products and were developed by NASA scientists to eradicate hydrocarbon products as part of the space programme. They completely breaking hydrocarbons down into their constituent parts, CO2 and H2O. Ethylene glycol is a basic hydrocarbon – C2H6O2
Within minutes of being sprayed on a hydrocarbon, S-200 Oilgone® attaches to the hydrocarbon, bonding with it and creating a matrix – an agglomerated gel- that remains on the surface and cannot sink, no matter what the weather conditions. By bonding with the hydrocarbon, S-200 Oilgone® does not allow the hydrocarbon to disperse or sink. The motion on the surface of the water creates the optimum conditions for microbes, trapped in the matrix, to start the bio-remediation process. The microbes multiply very rapidly in the matrix – a greenhouse effect – rapidly eating the hydrocarbon until it is all gone. Depending on the type of oil this process can take from 12 to 36 hours.
Trapped inside the matrix with the hydrocarbon are microbes – microorganisms that exist in oxygen in the air – that will eat the diesel. The inside of the matrix is like a greenhouse, which helps the microbes to multiple at many times the normal rate, and therefore the process of breaking down the diesel into its constituent parts – CO2 and H2O – will happen at many times the normal rate.
The matrix with the hydrocarbon inside will continue to work until all of the ethylene glycols has been remediated.
How to deal with antifreeze lakes
Unlike other hydrocarbons, ethylene glycol (antifreeze) is soluble and mixes in water. So in the holding lakes at airports, the ethylene glycol permeates the water. S-200 Oilgone® and PRP deal with this issue as follows:
- The surface of the lake or tank is sprayed withS-200 Oilgone® and this starts the bioremediation chain
- Every 15m or so, a chain of 1m vertical booms containing PRP is suspended into the water
- The liquid and the booms break down the antifreeze and reduce the dilution of the ethylene glycol in the lake
- The lake needs to be agitated periodically – something that rain or wind can achieve
Our proposal for your airport
- A series of booms in the drains by the antifreeze spraying area to start the remediation process before the ethylene glycol even gets into the pipe system
- A series of booms in the collection chambers on the way to the lake/holding tank to continue the remediation process and to ensure that the liquid that reaches the holding tank is almost completely remediated
- The surface of the lake or tank is sprayed and this starts the bioremediation chain
- A series of booms positioned in the lake at 15m intervals to deal with any residual ethylene glycol
PRP booms absorb hydrocarbons on a 20:1 ratio. Each kilogram of PRP within a boom can bioremediate twenty kilograms of hydrocarbon, one kilogram at a time. At the end of the process, you are left with an empty cotton sock that can be discarded in a standard trash can. The crystal PRP structure within a boom will last 12 months once introduced to the open environment. It is therefore recommended that you replace the boom at least every 12 months or when all the powder is used, whichever comes first.
To reduce the antifreeze percentage in you holding lake/tank by more than 95% within 12 months.
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