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Bioremediation is the answer to spillage risks in the petchem sector

GK-IT Environmental Services, a South African leader in bioremediation and environmental product manufacture, is diversifying from the mining industry to the petrochemical and oil refinery sector.

Focusing on the bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, Director Chris Cooper explains that gasoline and diesel range organic compounds can be degraded to levels below 100 parts per million using its products. In addition, volatile, semi-volatile, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons can be degraded to below 50 parts per billion.

Onsite remediation

This is in accordance with the National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008 (NEMWA), of which Chapter 4 Part 8 contains provisions for contaminated land. This is defined as “the presence in or under any land, site, buildings or structures of a substance or micro-organism above the concentration that is normally present in or under that land, which substance or micro-organism directly or indirectly affects or may affect the quality of soil or the environment adversely.”

A proudly South African company established in 2003, GK-IT Environmental Services has developed a range of unique bioremediation products based on micro-organisms such as aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and moulds. Cooper himself has a background in microbiology. The company is a subsidiary of the Man-Dirk group, a specialist supplier of engineering tools and equipment in the maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) sector.

“We are focusing on the petchem and oil refinery sector as a potential growth area, as there is a considerable risk of spillage and contamination here. The traditional approach to contaminated soil has been a simple ‘dig-and-dump’ approach, which involves physically removing and transporting the material to a toxic landfill site. This not only incurs hazardous-transportation costs, but also poses a major environmental risk while en route,” Cooper explains.

A largescale remediation

GK-IT Environmental Services is able to offer a total ‘on-site’ solution premised on returning contaminated soil to its original pristine condition, a process that normally takes 10 to 12 weeks. “The fact that we are such a small, focused company means we are so much more flexible in terms of our response time. Having said that, we have nevertheless been involved with some of the biggest bioremediation projects ever undertaken in South Africa, directly or via distributors,” Cooper highlights.

The company has a production facility in Randfontein, and also manufactures products for other suppliers. “We use industrial waste streams in our production. The fact that we design and produce all of our own products differentiates us from other companies focusing exclusively on environmental management.”

While the company has focused traditionally on the mining industry, Cooper reveals that the potential industry and customer base is much larger. “Our target customers are essentially any customers that use petrochemical products, be it oil, diesel, or petrol.” The company’s focus on lowest-risk total solution for its customers continues to give it a leading edge in the market.

GK-IT Environmental Services’ extensive product range covers oil, petrochemical, and chemical absorbents, bioremediation products, ‘green’ degreasing chemicals, spillage kits, recycling and waste stations, oil collection stations, and oil/water coalescing plate separators.


A smallscale remediation facility

Services offered encompass input on the construction and licencing of bioremediation facilities, the bioremediation of contaminated soil and separator sludges, 24/7 onsite spill response, specialised industrial cleaning, high-pressure cleaning, oil collection, and small volume hazardous-waste handling.

Cooper says that whereas the international trend is towards bioremediation, South Africa still favours the traditional ‘dig-and’ dump approach. However, increasingly stringent environmental legislation, combined with the need to preserve topsoil and prevent landfills from filling up too quickly, means that GK-IT Environmental Services is able to offer an ideal solution in this regard.

About GK-IT Environmental Services
GK-IT Environmental Services was established in February 2003 when current management realised that South African industry was in need of an alternative to the traditional ‘dig-and-dump’ approach to accidental petroleum spillages. GK-IT is based on a novel approach to the bioremediation of petroleum-based contaminants, developed by Chris Cooper. Product development and testing in the field was followed logically by the establishment of a local production plant in March 2004. GK-IT Environmental Services holds a number of patents, and manufactures a range of environmental protection and rehabilitation products. This includes a variety of locally developed and manufactured hydrocarbon and chemical absorbents, bioremediation products, environment-friendly cleaning chemicals, pollution-control spill kits, used-oil recovery stations, and oily-water separators.

GK-IT Environmental Services Contact
Chris Cooper
Phone: (011) 412-4370/4
Fax: (011) 692-4063
Cell: 082 3364584
Email: tech.support@gk-it.co.za
Web: www.gk-it.co.zaa

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