February 2, 2017 by John Nicholson
Mr. Richard Raymond, acknowledged by the US EPA as the “grandfather of in-situ bioremediation” in the United States recently passed away.
During the early 1970’s, while employed by the Sun Oil Company, he developed the microbial and field techniques that are now universally known as the “Raymond Process” for the cleanup of groundwater contaminated with petroleum and petroleum products, a great alternative to the endless and extensive process of “pump and treat.” His 1974 patent for “Reclamation of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Groundwater” provided the basis for the development of the groundwater bioremediation industry that is now a worldwide business. His 1984 patent, “Stimulation of Bio-oxidation Processes in Subterranean Formations,” developed the use of hydrogen peroxide to overcome limitations in the existing methods for mass transfer of oxygen to groundwater.
Countless books and research articles acknowledge Raymond’s seminal contributions as the inventor of process technology for the in-situ bioremediation of contaminated groundwater. While at Sun Oil Co., Mr. Raymond directed a group of microbiology specialists, and early research activities greatly expanded the scope of biological hydrocarbon oxidations.
Mr. Raymond has received numerous awards for his research over the years including the Society of Industrial Microbiologists Charles Porter Award. He also served on numerous committees including the API Groundwater Task Force, peer review panel of the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory, and the USEPA Valdez Oil Spill Panel.
He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology from the University of Illinois-Champaign in 1947 and 1951, respectively. His college studies were interrupted by World War II, when he served as a B-17 navigator in the European theater. After graduation, he worked for Socony Mobil Oil Co. and Sun Oil Co. as a Research Microbiologist. After retiring from Sun Oil Co. in 1982, he founded the first in-situ bioremediation company (Biosystems, Inc.) in the US. The company was later purchased by the DuPont Company and became DuPont Environmental Remediation Services (DERS).
May this legend in our bioremediation industry, “Rest In Peace”. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his family.