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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Buildings, Real Estate and Facilities > Brownfields Land Reclamation

Gene Expression Factor (GEF) Cleanup of Brownfields Reduces Cost and Time - Biotech Restorations (1)

Gene Expression Factor (GEF) biotech solution developed and implemented by Biotech Restorations provides lower cost and faster cleanup of contaminated soil in brownfields.

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What is Gene Expression Factor (GEF) for Soil and Brownfield Cleanup

Part 1 (Part 2)

Biotech has been touted as the coming solution for many ills. But genetic engineering of food crops has caused a lot of concern by many people...and left a lingering pall of doubt about ANY biochemistry solution. That has been my response as well -- especially as a communications and marketing person rather than a technical expert. Until today.

Biotech remediation of Brownfield land management sites
Chris Young & Dr. Valerie Paynter, Biotech Restorations

Chris Young of Biotech Restorations called me to explain their new -- and implemented -- approach to Brownfields cleanup in a way that uses organic soil amendments and that reduces both time and cost of this contaminated soil cleanup. I must say I got excited. His approach seems to be a major solution-breakthrough to me -- and I agreed to look at his case studies of California projects. This is why:

There is a critical distinction to be made between Gene Expression Factors and genetic engineering or genetic manipulation.

Where genetic engineering and manipulation endeavor to attach a capability not inherent to the microorganism, Gene Expression Factors simply restore to the microorganism the natural and inherent reductive capabilities that have been inhibited or repressed in the presence of man-made pollutants.

Chris Young sent documentation from California EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and I've excerpted parts of this documentation below regarding one project, the cleanup of the 14-acre Borello Property in Morgan Hill, CA. Following the DTSC information is a lengthy explanation of the research behind "Gene Expression Factors". I've also published BioTech Restorations' entire research report because it explains this new approach so well.

Biotech remediation of Brownfield land management sites
A successful pesticides site cleanup near Morgan Hill, CA

The Morgan Hill Project, Oct, 2005

(News Release Quote from California EPA/Department of Toxic Substances Control, October 31, 2005)

DTSC announced the completion and certification of the hazardous substances cleanup project at the 14-acre Borello Property that used a bioremediation technology enabling cleanup to residential standards within two months at a relatively low cost.

The natural bioremediation process is considered a safe, low impact and effective method of removing pollutants from the environment. The site received an "unrestricted use" certification, the Department's most rigorous and health-protective standard.

"The success of this cleanup is encouraging," said Acting DTSC Director Leonard Robinson. "Using the best available science to rturn properties to productive use is a priority for Governor Schwarzenegger's administration. This property located along Peet Road, was a vacant lot and now can be developed into a residential subdivision," Robinson added.

The Borello Property was historiacally used as an apricot orchard from the early 1900s through the mid 1990s until it was replaced with a cherry orchard that operated until 2004. Environmental investigations at the site found elevated concentrations of the pesticides toxaphene and dieldrin within the initial 1 1/2 feet of soil beneath the entire property.

DTSC and the borello property owner entered into a voluntary cleanup agreement to remediate the site in late September 2004. Cleanup activities, which occurred atthe site from June 2005 to August 2005, included a bioremediation process that helped breakdown harmful chemicals in the pesticides and changed them into non-toxic substances (salt, carbon dioxide and water). In this case, the entire site was bioremediated at depths of 1 1/2 feet.

The Borello Property is now a vacant lot, which was recently zoned for rsidential use. The property owner plans to develop it into a residential subdivision.

Additional information was found in a DTSC Public Involvement Factsheet, May 2005. Here are some excerpts:

The Borello Property Proposed Remediation Plan Is Available For Review

The fact sheet provides: history and background of the site; findings of the investigation; options for remediation the site (Draft RAW) proposed activities for remediation; California Environmental Quality Act - Notice of Exemption; and next steps.

Preferred cleanup method

Three alternatives were evaluated for the Borello Property to clean up the pesticides.
  • The first alternative was to take no action. This alternative will leave the contamination in place and restrict future use of the property to commercial use only.
  • The second alternative was to remove 14,200 cubic yards of the contaminated soil. If this alternative is chosen, the soil is dug up and transported to an approved landfill.
  • The third alternative proposes bio-remediation with Gene Expression Factor (GEF). GEF is a soil amendment which helps repair the existing bacteria in the soil and allows them to metabolize the pesticides into salt, carbon dioxide and water.

DTSC’s Recommendation

DTSC believes that the bio-remediation with GEF alternative is the preferred cleanup method. Through the addition of additives and fertilizers, the population of soil bacteria will grow and consume the residual pesticides as a source of food. When the remediation of the soil is complete, the bacterial populations will return back to normal levels.

At no time during the process, do the bacteria represent a potential risk to the environment, people or animals that may cross, travel by or live near the site. As a natural biological process, bioremediation is considered a safe, low impact and effective method of removing pollutants from the environment.

Proposed activities

At the Borello Property, if the Bio-remediation process is selected, the following are the proposed activities.
  • The entire site will be fenced so that that unauthorized personnel cannot enter the work area.
  • The initial two feet of soil on the entire property will be mixed and blended with appropriate amounts of fertilizer, lime, protein compounds and organic material (cow manure). The soil will be ripped and mixed to assure uniform blending. The soil will be mixed at least twice a month.
  • Irrigation lines will be set-up over the entire property and soil will be irrigated weekly to maintain a moist soil condition. Weekly irrigation allows the native bacteria colonies to bloom and metabolize the chlorine within the pesticides, thus changing the pesticides into non-toxic substances.
  • Trained personnel will monitor the efficiency of bio-remediation process over the entire site.
  • Airborne dust monitoring will be conducted at the site. Dust control measures during ripping and handling of contaminated soil will consist of spraying water onto the soil and work area. The dust-monitoring will consist primarily of direct-reading instrumentation in the work area throughout the daytime work schedule.

    Link to Part 2: "Gene Expression Factors" Research Report

Information Repositories

The Draft RAW and related documents can be reviewed at:

Morgan Hill Library, Morgan Hill, CA (408)779-3196

DTSC, Berkeley, CA; File room, (510)540-3800 (By appointment only)

DTSC Website: For information abotu DTSC, visit

BioTech Restorations
137 Cross Center Road, #143
Denver, North Carolina 28037
(704) 489-6538

(704) 489-6538
Christopher W. Young,

Dr. Val Paynter
Protocol and Laboratory Director

GeoSolve, Inc
1989 Santa Rita Road, Suite A-165
Pleasanton, California 94566
(925) 963-1198
Robert D. Campbell
GeoSolve is the West-Coast distributor for BioTech Restorations with three remediation projects completed using BioTech Restorations solutions.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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