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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

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Apr 17, 2020

“Crop Production on Heavily Disturbed Soils following Crude Oil Remediation” with Dr. Tom DeSutter and Sam Croat.

When an oil spill occurs on land, there are myriad ways to approach cleanup, from adding oxidizers or nutrients to speed natural processes, burning off surface oil, replacing contaminated top soil with top soil from other regions, or even just removing the soil to a landfill. When an oil spill in 2013 contaminated Steve and Patty Jensen’s land with ~860,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil, Dr. Tom DeSutter and then student Sam Croat tested soil mixing and thermal desorption methods, working with the oil companies, landowners, and remediation companies to try to see which methods could best return the Jensen’s land to its original, pre-spill state.

Listen in to learn:

  • What are different techniques to cleanup an oil spill
  • How thermal desorption works
  • Who to contact in case of an oil spill
  • How mixing soils can give subsoils the jumpstart they need

If you would like more information about this topic, this episode’s paper is available here:

It will be freely available from 17 April to 1 May, 2020.

If you would like to find transcripts for this episode or sign up for our newsletter, please visit our website:

Contact us at or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe.

If you would like to reach out to Tom, you can find him here:

If you would like to reach out to Sam, you can find her here:
Twitter: @SamCroatSoils


CEU Quiz:

Soil Science Society of America:

American Society of Mining and Reclamation:

Powerpoint slides from ASMR 2019 annual meeting: Soil Reclamation after a Bakken Crude Pipeline Release: A Summary of Research Results at

Related papers

Croat, S.J., T.M. DeSutter*, F.X.M. Casey, and P.L. O’Brien. 2020. Phosphorus sorption and desorption in soils treated by thermal desorption. Water Air Soil Pollut.

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, and F.X.M. Casey. 2019. Natural degradation of low-level petroleum hydrocarbon contamination under crop management. J. Soils Sed. 19:1367-1373

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, F.X.M. Casey, A.L.M. Daigh, J.L. Heitman, N.E. Derby, and E. Khan. 2018. Daytime surface energy fluxes over soil material remediated using thermal desorption. Agrosyst. Geosci. Environ. 1:180027.

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, F.X.M. Casey, E. Khan, and A.F. Wick. 2018. Thermal remediation alters soil properties: A review. J. Environ. Mngt. 206: 826-835.

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, F.X.M. Casey, A.F. Wick, and E. Khan. 2017. Wheat growth in soils treated by ex situ thermal desorption. J. Environ. Qual. doi:10.2134/jeq2017.03.0115

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, F.X.M. Casey, A.F. Wick, and E. Khan. 2017. Evaluation of soil function following remediation of petroleum hydrocarbons: A review of current remediation strategies. Current Poll. Reports doi:10.1007/s40726-017-0063-7

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, S.S. Ritter, F.X.M. Casey, E. Khan, A.F. Wick, and Heather L. Matthees. 2017. A large-scale soil-mixing process for reclamation of heavily disturbed soils. Ecol. Eng. 109: 84-91.

Ritter, S., T. DeSutter, P. O’Brien, F. Casey, A. Wick, E. Khan, and K. Horsager. 2017. Binary exchanges of calcium, magnesium, and potassium on thermally desorbed soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 10.2136/sssaj2017.01.0028

O’Brien, P.L., T.M. DeSutter, F.X.M. Casey, N.E. Derby, and A.F. Wick. 2016. Implications of using thermal desorption to remediate contaminated agricultural soil: Physical characteristics and hydraulic processes. J. Environ. Qual. 45: 1430-1436.

5000 Candles song dedicated to Bakken Oil Fields:

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