Monitoring for bioremediation efficacy: The Marrow Marsh experience
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Response Team analyzed samples taken from Marrow Marsh, Galveston Bay, Texas, to assess the efficacy of a bioremediation effort in the marsh following the Apex barges spill on July 28, 1990 Samples from the marsh had been collected over a 96-hour period following the first application of the bioremediation agent and then 25 days after the second application, which occurred 8 days after the first. Results of sample analyses to evaluate changes in the chemical characteristics of spilled oil failed to show evidence of oil degradation during the 96 hours after the initial treatment, but did show evidence of degradation 25 days after the second treatment-although differences between samples from treated and untreated sites were not evident. Because control areas had not been maintained after the second application, contamination by the bioremediation agent of previously untreated (control) areas may have occurred, perhaps negating the possibility of detecting differences between treated and control areas. Better preparedness to implement bioremediation and conduct monitoring might have increased the effectiveness of the monitoring effort.