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Professor immy C.M. Kao’s Microorganisms Eat Underground Water Contaminants
Professor Jimmy C.M. Kao of Institute of Environmental Engineering of National Sun Yat-sen University, used bioremediation by microorganisms to effectively clean up underground water contamination. He injected a special nutrient liquid into the subsurface to encourage and fed indigenous microorganisms, so that these “nature’s janitors” will consume all the toxic, chlorinated organic solvents. His research not only won the highly acclaimed 13th Y.Z. Hsu Scientific Paper Award-Green Technology Category, but has been applied to numerous contaminated sites domestically.

The new in situ “slow-releasing polycolloid substrate”
bioremediation system developed by Professor Kao emulsifies edible oil and molasses, and releases the droplets into soil pores as nutrient for contaminant-eating microorganisms. This mixture, which it is low in inter-particle repulsion hence adheres and distributes evenly to the soil, carries greater economic benefits compared to before as it sharply reduces the cost of remediation.
Soil and Undergroundwater Pollution Remediation Act was promulgated in 2000 as the worsening situation gained attention in Taiwan. Thus far more than 200 sites have been declared contaminated due to waste dumping and improper industrial handling. Professor Kao’s green remediation system is a technique that is expected to produce good results.

Professor Kao stressed that organic solvents are one of the biggest causes of contaminate soil and underground water. RCA, the US electronics company that was found to have dumped organic solvent wastes at its Taiwan factory 21 years ago, polluting the soil and ground water with chlorination. The pollution led to more than 1,000 cancer cases among former employees and 216 deaths. The RCA Self-Help Association filed a class action case on behalf of victims and families and was awarded NT 560 million in damages, the highest in Taiwan’s record history.
Publish date : 2015-08-24
  • Professor Kao (left) and his Ph.D. student, photo taken in lab
    Professor Kao (left) and his Ph.D. student, photo taken in lab
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