Land Farming is a bioremediation
Bioremediation is the use of microorganism metabolism to remove pollutants. Technologies can be generally classified as in situ or ex situ. In situ bioremediation involves treating the contaminated material at the site, while ex situ involves the removal of the contaminated material to be treated...

 treatment process that is performed in the upper soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 zone or in biotreatment cells. Contaminated soils
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

, sediments, or sludges are incorporated into the soil surface and periodically turned over (tilled) to aerate the mixture.


This technique has been successfully used for years in the management and disposal of oily sludge and other petroleum
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 refinery wastes. In situ systems have been used to treat near surface soil contamination for hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s and pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s. The equipment employed in land farming is typical of that used in agricultural
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 operations. These land farming activities cultivate and enhance microbial
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

 degradation of hazardous compounds. As a rule of thumb, the higher the molecular weight (i.e., the more rings within a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon), the slower the degradation rate. Also, the more chlorinated
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

 or nitrated
Nitration is a general chemical process for the introduction of a nitro group into a chemical compound. The dominant application of nitration is for the production of nitrobenzene, the precursor to methylene diphenyl diisocyanate...

 the compound, the more difficult it is to degrade.

Reference: Theodore, L. and Reynolds, J., Introduction to Hazardous waste incineration, Wiley, New York(1987)


Factors that may limit the applicability and effectiveness of the process include:
  1. large space requirements
  2. the conditions advantageous for biological degradation of contaminants are largely uncontrolled, which increases the length of time to complete remediation, particularly for recalcitrant compounds
  3. inorganic contaminants are not biodegraded
  4. the potential of large amounts of particulate matter released by operations
  5. the presence of metal ions may be toxic to microbes and may leach from the contaminated soil into the ground.

Hydrocarbon compounds that have been identified as being not readily degraded by land farming include creosote
Creosote is the portion of chemical products obtained by the distillation of a tar that remains heavier than water, notably useful for its anti-septic and preservative properties...

, pentachlorophenol
Pentachlorophenol is an organochlorine compound used as a pesticide and a disinfectant. First produced in the 1930s, it is marketed under many trade names...

 (PCP), and bunker C oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

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