UK: Environmental Scientifics Group and Waste Management Total Solutions have completed a trial using bioremediation to clean ballast at First Great Western's St Philip's Marsh depot in Bristol.

Bioremediation uses cultivated oil-degraded bacteria and microbes to digest waste material, releasing carbon dioxide and water. A mix of biocatalysts and nutrients was sprayed onto contaminated ballast in the depot, and the results showed a quantifiable decrease in hydrocarbon concentrations after treatment. Among the benefits recorded was a reduction in the depth of contamination, greater control over the extent of any contamination, and the development of a safer working environment for depot staff.

'Bioremediation is an established method of treatment, but it has never been used in this context before. We were delighted with the results', explained WMTS Operations Director Peter Nicholas.