Context: A team of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) has begun assessing the impact on the environment after the blowout around the Baghjan natural gas well.
More on the news:
- The well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district adjoins the sensitive Maguri-Motapung wetland and is close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park that houses some wild horses.
- It underwent a blowout - uncontrolled escape of gas at tremendous velocity and has been burning since bursting into flames.
- Certain steps such as the erection of heat shields have been completed and fire-fighting equipment from Rajahmundry operations of ONGC has been used.
Assessment by TERI:
- A preliminary assessment by the TERI team is in progress at the site for studying air quality and noise level.
- Bioremediation of sludge is being done using a technology developed in-house by the research and development wing of Oil India Limited(OIL), to which the well belongs.
- OIL also updated the efforts to kill the well fire before capping the blowout.
What is Bioremediation?
- It is the methodology by which waste toxic substances in the environment can be removed or neutralized with the help of microorganisms, plants, or microbial or plant enzymes.
- Hence, we can say that Bioremediation is the method of reducing or destroying the concentration of pollutants in the environment through the biological systems.
Types of bioremediation:
- When the detoxification of waste is done at the original site of the contamination is called in situ Bioremediation.
- It is mainly used to treat contaminants in soil and groundwater.
- The process of in situ bioremediation depends on the various factors which are given below:
- Typology of contamination,
- Characteristics of site,
- Distribution and concentration of contaminants etc.
- As all the above factors are not practical to achieve, in situ bioremediation uses methods like aeration, nutrient addition, controlling moisture content to increase the rate of degradation.
- For example: bioventing, enhanced biodegradation,biosparging,bio-augmentation etc.
- When the detoxification of waste is done away from the original site of the contamination is called ex situ Bioremediation.
- In this process, the contaminants are unearthed from the original site and then treated in the controlled environment.
- For Example: composting, soil bio-piles, Land farming etc.
Pros of Bioremediation:
- It is a natural environment friendly waste treatment process for contaminated substances such as soil.
- Useful for the complete removal of contaminants.
- Less expensive than the other mechanism or technologies that are used for the removal of hazardous waste.
Cons of Bioremediation:
- Limited to only biodegradable compounds.
- Difficult to generalise from laboratory studies to full-scale field operations.
- Takes longer than other treatment options, such as excavation and removal of soil or incineration.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
- It is a not-for-profit policy research institute in New Delhi that specializes in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.
- Established in 1974, it was formerly known as the Tata Energy Research Institute.
- As the scope of its activities widened, it was renamed The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003.
Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assessment-of-oil-well-blowout-impact-on-environment-begins/article31855159.ece#:~:text=A team of The Energy,OIL) officials said on Wednesday.