An efficient method for decontaminating soil containing organic explosives ("TNT" and others) in the form of solid portions or chunks which are not ordinarily subject to effective bacterial degradation. The contaminated soil is treated by delivering an organic solvent to the soil which is capable of dissolving the explosives. This process makes the explosives more bioavailable to natural bacteria in the soil which can decompose the explosives. An organic nutrient composition is also preferably added to facilitate decomposition and yield a compost product. After dissolution, the explosives are allowed to remain in the soil until they are decomposed by the bacteria. Decomposition occurs directly in the soil which avoids the need to remove both the explosives and the solvents (which either evaporate or are decomposed by the bacteria). Decomposition is directly facilitated by the solvent pre-treatment process described above which enables rapid bacterial remediation of the soil.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company.