Bioremediation works by encouraging the growth of bacteria that feed on pollutants such as oil, solvents, and pesticides for food and energy. Contaminants, as well as innocuous gases like carbon dioxide, are converted by these bacteria into little amounts of water.
The correct temperature, nutrients, and foods are required for bioremediation. The lack of these elements may cause the cleaning of pollutants to take longer. Unfavorable conditions for bioremediation can be improved by adding "amendments" to the environment, such as molasses, vegetable oil, or just plain air. These changes improve the environment for bacteria to thrive, allowing the bioremediation process to be completed faster.
Bioremediation can be done "in situ," or at the contamination site, or "ex situ," or at a location other than the contamination site. If the environment is too cold for microbial activity to thrive, or if the soil is too rich for nutrients to be distributed evenly, ex situ bioremediation may be required. Ex situ bioremediation may include excavating and cleaning the soil above ground, which could increase the process's expenses significantly.

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