Nanyo-doken establishes technology for soil cleanup with a view to use land previously occupied by U.S. bases

Nanyo-doken establishes technology for soil cleanup with a view to use land previously occupied by U.S. bases

On May 7, at a storage site of Nanyo-doken in Urasoe, the company commenced an experiment on soil remediation.


May 8, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 7, in anticipation of the use of land after the return of U.S. military bases, Nanyo-doken announced that they have started an experiment involving the biotechnological treatment of soil tainted by heavy oil at a storage site of the company in Urasoe. Applying bacteria found in Japan that can break down oils into the land in Okinawa, they aim to establish technology for soil decontamination that is suitable for use in Okinawa.

The experiment is a part of a prefectural project to develop technology for biological soil remediation. The Kumagai Gumi in Tokyo and the Technos in Aichi have cooperated on this.

Ritsumeikan University discovered bacteria effective for oil degradation, which has now received national authorization, and the Kumagai Gumi will use it. According to the company, experiments using the bacteria have already been conducted within Japan, taking four to five months to clean up the soil. In this test, they will confirm the purification performance on Okinawa’s unique fine-grained soil, which is different from that of other places in Japan.

On May 7, at the office of the Nanyo-doken in Urasoe. Company president Morihiro Higa was enthusiastic about the establishment of technology for soil decontamination.


The method is to have three approaches to soil that includes five grams of heavy oil per one kilogram, one that includes the bacteria which can break the oil down, another that has had Okinawan native bacteria and organic materials added to it, and a control group to which nothing is done. The soil cleanup standard is for one gram of heavy oil to be in per one kilogram of soil, and they will change the frequency of administration of the bacteria as they compare the samples.

After the project, the plan is to establish an association promoting the method of soil remediation. The president of Nanyo-doken, Morihiro Higa, said, “If we become to able to treat oil-contaminated soil in Okinawa locally and therefore don’t need to take it to other prefectures, it means that we can save money and create benefits for construction companies. I hope that we can come up with the very best technology for remediation.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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