Tailings - Pond Reclamation By Microbiology

Pond Reclamation By Microbiology

During extraction of the oil from oil sand, tailings consisting of water, silt, clays and other solvents are also created. This solid will become the mature fine tailings (MFT) by the gravity. By using conventional most probable number (MPN) methods, Dr. Foght estimates that there are 103 anaerobic heterotrophs, 104 sulfate-reducing prokaryotes per milliliters in the tailings pond (Foght et al. 1985). Foght sets up an experiment two tailings ponds. By analyzing the Achaeans, Bacteria and the gas released from tailings ponds, those are methanogenesis. As the depth increase, the moles of CH4 released are actually decreasing. Siddique (2006, 2007) states that methanogenesis in the tailings pond live and reproduce by anaerobic degradation which will lower the molecular weight from naphtha to aliphatic, aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and methane. Those Achaeans and Bacteria can degrade the naphtha which was considered as wastes during the procedure of refining oil. Both of those degraded products are useful. Aliphatic, aromatic hydrocarbons and methane can be used as fuel in the humans’ daily lives. In other words, those methanogenesis improve the coefficient of utilization. Moreover, these methanogenesis change the structure of the tailings pond and help the pore water efflux to reuse for processing oil sands. Because the Achaeans and Bacteria metabolize and release bubble within the tailings, the pore water can go through the soil easily. Since they accelerate the densification of the mature fine tailings, the tailings pond are enable to settle the solids more quickly so that the tailings can be reclaimed earlier. Moreover, the water released from the tailings can use it in the procedure of refining oil. Reducing the demand of water can also protect the environment from drought.

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