The purpose of the article is to study the properties of terrestrial peat in order to use it in oil spill liquidation from water surface at low temperatures. To define sorption capacity at 20 and 2 °С, the sorption tests of air-dried and thermally treated fuscum and sphagnum peat samples with high decomposition degree were carried out. It has been revealed that peat samples thermally treated in their decomposing gases (up to 250 °С) are characterized by high oil-sorbing capacity, hydrophobic nature and are capable to stay at water surface for a long time. This fact is proved by the buoyancy coefficient compared with that of the untreated peat samples. It is caused by the impact of thermal treatment on peat properties, i.e. alterations in elemental, group and functional composition.
The increase in solute density results in sorbent oil-sorbing capacity increase. The decrease in sorption test temperature has no impact on the water-retaining capacity and buoyancy during the tests.
The thermally-treated peat was successfully used to purify water from residual petroleum hydrocarbons, which was proved by the data of the fluorometric study. The microbilological tests aimed at defining the number of physiological groups of bacteria which destroy petroleum hydrocarbons proved the balanced nature of bacterial processes and ability of ecosystem samples to be utilized at low temperatures. In addition, alteration in peat-sorbent properties due to thermal treatment (as energetic substrate) resulted in the increase in the number of bacteria and capacity to sorb commercial crude oil.
Acknowledgments. The research is carried out at Tomsk Polytechnic University within the framework of Tomsk Polytechnic University Competitiveness Enhancement Program grant.
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