Joanna McNeil of Saint-Peter’s, Nova Scotia
Living in the Sydney Tar Pond: An Analysis of the Microbial Community
Ms. McNeil’s project sought to assess the feasibility of an environmentally friendly alternative to the decontamination of North America’s largest toxic dump site using biological remediation instead of the recommended incineration. This process uses microorganisms to decompose toxins into more manageable substances. The main research activity was to perform microbial community analysis, gauging the activity levels of the microbes in the Tar Ponds.
The results show that the level of activity of the bioremediation would increase ten-fold if conditions witnessed in July could be maintained. Factors such as temperature and dissolved oxygen were measured and played an important role in the level of microbial activity. But the study indicates that introducing lab cultured microbes could also hasten the process of bioremediation.