Turfgrass management today involves the use of many sophisticated types of mechanical equipments that are usually powered by petroleum fuels and controlled by hydraulic fluids. Petroleum-based spills occur (Johns and Beard, 1979) primarily because of equipment failure, careless refueling over turfgrass, or improperly connected hoses. Hydrocarbons are a major component of petroleum-based fuels and hydraulic fluids and are hazardous to the environment and toxic to plants and animals. Damage caused by hydrocarbons to turfgrass can be long lasting and difficult to correct because of the stable nature of most hydrocarbons (Aislabie et al., 2006). Water-soluble nutrients often become unavailable to plants in contaminated soil because of the coating of soil particles by hydrophobic hydrocarbons (Everett, 1978). Also, the elevated carbon (C) content in hydrocarbon-contaminated soil causes an increased C to nitrogen (N) ratio resulting in decreased bioavailability of N and phosphorus (P) (Aislabie et al., 2006).
Johns and Beard (1979) evaluated the remediational effectiveness of an activated charcoal and a detergent on gasoline, motor oil, grease, and hydraulic fluid spills on ‘Tifgreen’ bermudagrass (Cyodon dactylon). The results showed that the charcoal and detergent can remediate motor oil damage in 3–4 weeks but not for gasoline. Elliott and Prevatte (1995) compared damages caused by hydraulic fluid that is petroleum-based or vegetable oil-based on ‘Tifgreen’ bermudagrass. They found that both products caused immediate damage to turfgrass, but the petroleum-based hydraulic fluid persisted much longer in the soil preventing turfgrass reestablishment. Powell (1981) tested the effectiveness of various detergents, activated charcoal, and calcined clay on a motor oil spill on a ‘Penncross’ creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting green and found that dishwashing detergent was the most effective product allowing turfgrass recovery within 20 to 30 d. Greenwalt (2003) recommended flushing and scalping before reseeding to reestablish turfgrass on soil contaminated with hydraulic fluid because many commercial products recommended for soil remediation of fuel contamination do not work satisfactorily.
Kechavarzi et al. (2007) studied the rooting prospect of perennial ryegrass in soils with heterogeneously distributed petroleum hydrocarbons and found that the efficiency of rhizosphere biodegradation and the perennial ryegrass remediation potential were affected by the preferential growth of roots in uncontaminated zones. Bioremediation is a process of using microbes to degrade hydrocarbons. N and other nutrients are needed for bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils by microorganisms (Norris and Dowd, 1993). In general, results from previous research indicate that removal of contaminated soil and leaching contaminants with detergent water are the most effective methods for reclaiming soils subjected to petroleum-based spills. There is a lack of information on the effectiveness of balancing the N nutrient in the contaminated soil by using nitrate and organic soil amendments to enhance bioremediation. The effect of placing an organic or inorganic absorbent in the seedbed on reseeding cool-season turfgrass after a spill is unclear. The findings will benefit turfgrass managers as well as lawn owners. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of perennial ryegrass recovery methods after a petroleum-based spill using different soil surface amendments with a goal to remediate turf after such spills.
Aislabie, J.M., Balks, M.R., Foght, J.M. & Waterhouse, E.J. 2006 Hydrogen spills on Antarctic soils: Effects and management Environ. Sci. Technol. 38 1265 1274
Elliott, M.L. & Prevatte, M. 1995 Comparison of damage to ‘Tifgreen’ bermudagrass by petroleum and vegetable oil hydraulic fluids HortTechnology 5 50 51
Kechavarzi, C., Pettersson, K., Leeds-Harrison, P., Ritchie, L. & Ledin, S. 2007 Root establishment of perennial ryegrass (L. perenne) in diesel contaminated subsurface soil layers Environ. Pollut. 145 68 74
Norris, R.D. & Dowd, K.D. 1993 In-situ bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soil and groundwater in a low-permeability aquifer, p. 457–476. In: P.E. Flathman, D.E. Jerger, and J.H. Exner (eds.). Bioremediation field experience. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL