THE EFFECT OF PETROLEUM OIL SPILL ON THE SULPHATE, NITRATE AND NITRITE LEVEL OF THE SOIL

SCIENCE LABORATORY

ABSTRACT

Oil spill which occurs as an unintentional acts leading to the release of liquid petroleum into the environment can be caused by human mistakes or carelessness. In Nigeria oil spill can be attributed to lack of regular maintenance of the pipelines and storage tanks. With reference to the oil spill which occurred in 2009 at Ikot Ada Udo farmland located in the Southern part of Nigeria was really a tedious one has effected the sulphate, Nitrate and Nitrite levels of the soil. Two soil samples were taken to the chemistry laboratory for analysis and two methods were used for the nitrite analysis, titrimetric analysis was done and for the sulphate and nitrate, gravimetric analysis was used after which spectrophotometric analysis was used to read the absorbance of concentration with a UV spectrophotometer at a wavelength of 410. At the end of the analysis it was observed that the effect of the oil spill was in the order sulphate < Nitrate < Nitrite. It was recommended that the affected Ikot Ada Udo farm should be included in the ongoing remediation going on in the Niger delta region to avoid destruction of the vegetation because the increase in the nutrient levels can lead to eutrophication which discourages plant growth on land.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Oil spill is an unintentional release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment as a result of human activities, Aghalino (2000). They are usually caused by accidents involving oil tankers, refineries, pipelines and oil storage facilities. The accident can be caused by human mistakes or carelessness and sometimes by natural disaster such as earthquakes, deliberate acts by terrorist, militants or vandals. In Nigeria the major cause of oil spill is attributed to lack of regular maintenance of the pipelines and storage tanks. Most pipelines from the flow stations are absolutely being more than 20 fears making them subject to corrosion and leakage. Some of these pipes are laid above ground level without adequate seuvillance exposing them to wear and tear and other dangers, Oyem (2001). Another major cause of oil spill here is sabotage which involves bunkering by some unpatriotic Nigerians. They damage pipelines in the attempt to steal oil from them.

The negative impact of this oil spill includes, destruction of wildlife, lost of fertile soil, that is a decrease in soil nutrient including sulphate, Nitrate and Nitrite, pollution of air and water and damage of the ecosystem of the host community. The ecological problems observed as a result of oil spill includes a brownish vegetation and soil erosion, diminishing resources of the nutral ecosystem, fertile land turned barren and adverse effect on the life, health and economy of the people affected, Robert (2001).