Ricky D. Cox

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Charles A. Bleckmann, PhD


Numerous bioremediation projects have proven effective in accelerating contaminant biodegradation by injecting oxygen into the vadose zone with a technique called bioventing. In cold climates, bioremediation is limited to the summer when soil temperatures are sufficient to support microbial growth. Laboratory studies directly correlate increased biodegradation rates with temperature. By raising soil temperatures, in situ jet fuel remediation can be accelerated which was shown by a bioventing project conducted in 1991 at Eielson AFB, Alaska, where three soil warming techniques were used. Two methods actively warmed the soil - warm water circulation and heat tape; the other passively warmed the plot with insulatory covers. All plots were compared to an uncontaminated area and an unheated contaminated control plot. This study critically analyzes the project data to determine its effectiveness in enhancing biodegradation. This study also models the temperature-biodegradation relationship at the test plots using the van't Hoff-Arrhenius equation. Using paired oxygen consumption rates and temperatures, application of the equation was valid only for the warm water and passive warming plots. This study demonstrates that bioremediation is feasible in cold climates and can be enhanced by soil warming. Soil warming can significantly decrease remediation time with acceptable cost increases.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number