ESCONDIDO , An Escondido firm announced its effort to clean a contaminated lake in San Bernardino County was so successful, it was awarded a contract to begin the second phase of the project.
Bioremediation Inc., which uses gasoline-eating microbes to degrade the contaminant by breaking it down into harmless byproducts such as carbon dioxide, water and fatty acids, was awarded a $185,000 contract to continue its environmental cleanup at Big Bear Lake.
Jack Roberts, president of Bioremediation, said the pollution is being cleaned at the source without heavy equipment disrupting ecosystems or nearby residents. And the cost is about half of other technologies, he said.
The process works on all petroleum hydrocarbons without any harmful after-effects. When the microbes run out of gasoline to eat, they go dormant, he said.
In the case of Big Bear Lake, the pollution was caused by a leaking underground storage tank. Although the tank was removed several years ago, the site was still contaminated.
The Big Bear Municipal Water District gave Bioremediation a chance to clean up a small part of the lake last summer. When that area showed a marked improvement, the water district agreed in January to award the firm a $185,000 contract to handle the rest of the lake.
Bioremediation is now beginning cleanup efforts and expects the lake to be clean within six months, Roberts said.
Other prominent Bioremediation clients include the Van Nuys Airport, along with the Hyatt Islandia Hotel and Nelson Sloan Construction in San Diego.