Removal of hazardous chemical substances floating on water

A solution and a process is disclosed for the purpose of biodegrading organic chemical spills on water or land in situ. The item is a dried, macerated plant or vegetable material using a small oil or wax material enabling it to preferentially absorb petroleum at the presence of water. The item, specifically cotton gin trash, carries a microbial inoculum comprising indigenous microbes that biodegrade the chemical compound, specifically petroleum hydrocarbons. The process includes applying the macerated cotton gin trash to the face of the hydrocarbons floating on water or covering the land. Upon contact of the product with water a twisted inocula of microorganisms are revived. They increase in numbers because of food within the item, biodegrading the chemical dip in situ.


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The most frequent cases of spills cleansed by this innovation are petroleum hydrocarbons spilled on bodies of water from deserts, lakes, rivers and oceans. This patent discloses a solution and procedure for disposal of poisonous fluids and/orsuspensions that may be consumed on a natural substrate and disposed of in situ, especially a waste agricultural product that’s been processed for the above purpose. Cotton gin trash (also called cotton gin waste) is the residue remaining from themechanical separation of cottonseed from its lint by a cotton gin. (Cotton Ginners Handbook, Agricultural Handbook No. 503, Agri. Res. Ser. U.S.D.A. 1977, pages 80-81). In the United States cotton is harvested by mechanical pickers and considerableplant debris of several kinds can be collected along with the cottonseed. Following the seed and mass of plant debris has passed via a cotton gin to remove the seed and simmer that the trash is dried into 5-20% by weight moisture. It absorbs oily liquids such aspetroleum hydrocarbons and grease on water surfaces and could be disposed of by leaving the undesirable material soaked in gin trash to biedegrade from the water. The microflora inside the gin trash biodegrades the undesirable material, in situ, toharmless residues. The approach is referred to as mineralization.

Accidental spills of petroleum hydrocarbons and similar toxic liquids frequently occur on bodies of water. A thin film is usually first formed; hard to remove by any means. In comparison to cotton gin trash for cleansing spills ofhazardous liquids on roads and occupied areas I discovered the dry trash was hard to wet with water with no surfactant but it easily absorbed fatty materials. That the natural oils and waxes contained in the gin trash or debris repelled theabsorption of water allowing the bulk to float while the plant debris piled up the oil film effectively and preferentially removing most, if not all, of the surface film by the water. The plant debris, with its oil content may be biodegraded in situand does not need to be taken out of the water for additional disposal.

When cotton is harvested in the USA a mechanical cotton picker traverses the field gathering the seed by beth vacuum and mechanical equipment. The vacuum procedure automatically collects a small amount of dirt, even small stones. Lintcleaners at the gin eliminate most of the dirt disposing of it in the trash. If a small sample of the dry gin trash (12 to 15% moisture content) be put in warm water and the water examined microscopically every few hours one will discover active microorganismscruising about after 16 to 18 hours even though the gin trash has been in dry storage for over three decades. Within 24 to 48 hours per huge population of microorganisms will be active from the water. These microorganisms came from cotton field soiland feed on the 16 percent protein, along with the many carbohydrates within the cotton gin trash plant debris. This vast population of indigenous soil inhabiting microorganisms in the presence of petroleum and oil hydrocarbons, benzene, tolueneand xylenes, for example, has been utilized to biodegrade more than 20 toxic chemicals, repeatedly. Watch U.S. Pat. No. 5,100,455, incorporated by reference.

A review of the technical literature demonstrates as early as 1950 native soil and sea water purification germs were observed biodegrading petroleum hydrocarbons. A number of the oil degrading organisms have been specifically identified(ZoBell C., Assimilation of hydrocarbons by microorganisms. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Univ.. Calif., New Series No. 438, webpages 479-481. 1950). The reports by ZoBell reveal that petroleum hydrocarbons give excellent sources of foodand power for a high number of soil inhabiting microorganisms capable of mineralizing chlorine and oils inside a few days when water and nutrient salts are offered at favorable temperatures. Because cotton gin trashitself, comprises a petroleum and waxenabling it to repel lots of water, also consume oil whilst drifting, and because the gin trash also carries a high number of the soil’s indigenous microorganisms that utilize oils as a supply of food and energy that an ideal environment is supplied forprocessed cotton gin trash to cleansing water surfaces of oil spills.


An Overview of the U.S. Patent literature discloses the following information:



U.S. Pat.

No. 3,771,653, issued to J.P. Harnett, Nov.. 13, 1973, discloses the use of a compost prepared by the bacterial digestion of organic waste material. I’ve attempted Harnett’s way of incorporating composted organic waste into a petroleum filmfloating on water. A number of the compost sinks without absorbing much oil. Moreover, no mention is made of cotton gin trash within this patent although cotton gin trash consists of about half organic waste and half mineral soil.


U.S. Pat.

No. 3,791,990, issued to K. O. P. Fischer, Feb.. 12, 1974, makes no mention of cotton gin trash although Fischer discusses removal of oil from water.


U.S. Pat.

No. 3,902,998, issued to L. E. Bertram, Sep. 2, 1975, discloses the use of rice hulls to remove oil from water surfaces but makes no mention of cotton gin trash for the aforementioned purpose.


U.S. Pat.

No. 4,102,783, issued to A. Zenno, et al., Jul.. 25, 1978. This patent discloses using”unrefined cotton lints” and”unrefined cotton linters” for absorbing oils out of the fresh and sea water. This patent does not cite theuse of cotton gin trash although it cites”with the waste cotton shaped in a cotton spinning measure” (Page 4, lines 52 and 53). Such waste cotton is different from cotton gin trash which contains about 45 percent inorganic soil particles along withother plant debris. Cotton gin trash contains no cotton lints or cotton linters except by accident. Both cotton lints and linters are created from reginned cottonseed. Again, no mention is made from Zenno, et al., of their usage of cotton gin trash forabsorbing oils out of water. His mention of”lints” and”linters” identifies short fibers obtained from the spinning of cotton by mills producing fabric.


U.S. Pat.

No. 4,832,852, issued to G. G. Wells, et al., May 23, 1989, discloses the manufacture of a mat of cotton waste fibers to absorb oil on water surfaces. The garbage fibers were the ones obtained by reginning cottonseed as known as byZenno, et al., as”unrefined lints and linters.” Again, no mention is made from cotton gin trash.


U.S. Pat.

No. 4,925,343, issuedto R. L. Raible, et al., May 15, 1990, discloses a combination of wood fibers and cotton linters to absorb petroleum from land or water. The linters were got by the reginning of cottonseed as mentioneed by Wells, etal., and Zenno, et al.. No mention is made of the use of cotton gin trash.


U.S. Pat.

No. 5,009,790, issued to M. R. Bustamante, et al., Apr.. 23, 1991, discloses using kelp residue for cleansing water of oils. As in the above patents no mention is made of cotton gin trash and neither does this have any bearingon my patent.

In none of the above patents is cotton gin trash mentioned. Perhaps I should emphasize, again, that cotton gin trash is that the residue remaining from the factory separation of cottonseed from the predecessors with a cotton gin and that cotton lints andlinters are extremely short fibers removed from seed by reginning. Because the mechanical cotton picker is not discerning it assembles everything within its reach, such as some dirt, sending it all to a gin. The gin separates the lint from the seed,cleansing both of plant and soil debris that the gin sends to a trash pile. The trash may not be incinerated due to the clean air act. It may not be fed to livestock due to poisonous substances used as harvest aids. It may not be returned tothe land due to noxious grass and grass seeds and because a lot of the trash may carry harmful insects. My way of processing cotton gin trash, revealed herein, destroys the aforementioned unwanted pests, weed and grass seeds and therefore converts auseless toxic waste to a precious commodity.

IP reviewed by Plant-Grow agriculture technology news