A universal nutrient application strategy for the bioremediation of oil-polluted beaches

Hailong Li, Qinghong Zhao, Michel C. Boufadel, Albert D. Venosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Biostimulation by nutrient application is a viable technology for restoring oil-contaminated beaches. Maximizing the nutrient residence time is key for achieving a rapid cost-effective cleanup. We considered the nutrient injection strategy through a perforated pipe at the high tide line and we simulated numerically beach hydraulics, which allowed us to estimate the optimal injection flow rate of nutrient solution. Our results indicate that the optimal application is one that starts following the falling high tide and lasts for half tidal cycle. The saturated wet-front of the nutrient solution on the beach surface would move seaward with the same speed of the falling tide keeping a constant distance with the tide line. The numerical results were generalized to beaches of wide ranges of hydraulic and tidal properties using a novel dimensionless formulation for water flow and solute transport in porous media. Nomographs were presented to provide the flow rate based on four parameters: The beach slope and hydraulic conductivity, and tidal amplitude and period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1161
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


  • Bioremediation
  • Biostimulation
  • Dimensionless model
  • Numerical simulation
  • Nutrient injection
  • Oil-polluted beaches
  • Optimal strategy
  • Seawater-freshwater circulation


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