The purpose of the present study was to investigate possible methods to enhance the rate of biodegradation of oil sludge from crude oil tank bottom, thus reducing the time usually required for bioremediation. Enhancement of biodegradation was achieved through bioaugmentation and biostimulation. About 10% and 20% sludge contaminated sterile and non-sterile soil samples were treated with bacterial consortium (BC), rhamnolipid biosurfactant (RL) and nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) solution. Maximum n-alkane degradation occurred in the 10% sludge contaminated soil samples. The effects of treatment carried out with the non-sterile soil samples were more pronounced than in the sterile soils. Maximum degradation was achieved after the 56th day of treatment. n-Alkanes in the range of nC8-nC11 were degraded completely followed by nC12-nC21, nC22-nC31 and nC32-nC40 with percentage degradations of 100%, 83-98%, 80-85% and 57-73% respectively. Statistical analysis using analysis of variance and Duncan's multiple range test revealed that the level of amendments, incubation time and combination of amendments significantly influenced bacterial growth, protein concentration and surface tension at a 1% probability level. All tested additives BC, NPK and RL had significant positive effects on the bioremediation of n-alkane in petroleum sludge. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.