The celebration of Earth Day in April reminded us of the importance of a healthful environment and focused attention on natural biological processes that prevent or minimize environmental contamination. Bioremediation is just such a process. It offers promise great enough to have spawned a growing industry. The industry's representatives met recently in Washington, D.C., with officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confer on bioremediation and its future applications.

Bioremediation is the use of biological agents to reclaim polluted soils and waters. This process is effective and relatively inexpensive compared to other degradative processes, such as incineration. Bioremediation occurs at the site of contamination, so costly collection and delivery of materials are eliminated. In addition, bioremediation requires only simple and readily available equipment.

The biological agents used for bioremediation are most frequently microorganisms that degrade pollutants. These microorganisms, commonly bacteria and fungi, may be indigenous to the contaminated...

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