Chennai: Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL) has commenced the ‘bioremediation’ process to treat the sludge collected from the various beaches in Chennai following the oil spill caused by the collision of two cargo ships outside the Kamarajar Port last week, an official said on Saturday.

The process to segregate the oil sludge collected so far was explained to reporters by deputy general manager of IOCL’s Faridabad-based research and development facility S.K. Puri and his colleague deputy manager Manoj Kumar Upreti at the port in Chennai.

The collected oil sludge will be treated by a specific technology in a 2,000 sq metre and 1.5 feet deep pit created at the port, Puri said. Bioremediation is a natural process where very small living organisms called microbes are used to clean up the contaminated soil, he said.

Also read: Chennai oil spill: Over 90% of clean-up work over, says Centre

The special microbes are added with nutrients for treating the collected sludge. “We spread the collected sludge and safely treat it. This is what we have started to do...," the DGM said.

The company has got the patented the technology to treat oil sludge and the petroleum and oil ministry recently directed us to take up treatment of the sludge collected from the spill, a IOCL official said.

The Coast Guard had on Friday said it had collected nearly 72 tonnes of sludge and 54 kilolitres of oil mixed with water through a ‘super sucker equipment.’ The collision took place on 28 January at 4am when MT BW Maple, with a flag of ‘Isle of Man’, was leaving after emptying liquified petroleum gas and MT Dawn, Kanchipuram, loaded with petroleum oil lubricant was on its way to berth at the port.

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