Oil-Eating Microbes In The Bilge
Young Enterprises LLC in Norwell, Massachusetts, has developed a new product for addressing the problem of oil sheen in the bilges of boats. Up until now, microbial oil eradicators have been limited as to how much oil, gas, glycol, grease and other organic matter they could bioremediate. Bill Young, company president, says their new technology involves adding a sufficient amount of naturally-occurring peat moss to their foam carrier that houses environmentally-friendly microbes. This enabled the company to offer a product to be deployed in bilges of large vessels such as tugs, barges, work boats, ferry boats, commercial fishing boats and super yachts.
The microbes will live in the foam carrier and migrate into the bilge water to remove the oil. The microbial pillow will absorb approximately a quart of oil in about three days, at which time the microbes will have a tremendous supply of oil to digest. The pillow will continue to absorb the oil sheen, giving the microbes an additional food source. The microbes double in number every 20 minutes as they are digesting the oil and will die off in about 90 days. After that, the microbial pillow can be discarded in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.
The microbial pillow comes with a grommet that allows it to be secured in the bilge. It will float on the surface of water where the oil is. By addressing the oil sheen, the number of pump-outs can be reduced and create cost savings while helping to keep the environment clean. The byproduct of the microbes' bioremediation is harmless carbon dioxide and water-soluble fatty acids, a food for fish and plants. “Microbes are Mother Nature's way of recycling. Our microbes are non-pathogenic, non-toxic and are listed on the EPA National Contingency Plan which is as good as it gets,” said Bill Young.