Power of Plants: Phytoremediation in Action

25 01 2010

photo credit: istockphoto.com/mtr

Over the last decade, I have been fascinated with the remediation of contaminants using plants and related biological processes. I was first introduced to the concept by a story on NPR about the use of poplar trees to remediate groundwater contamination. The Corp of Engineers has been involved in successfully implementing and researching these techniques for some time now.

This weekend I came across an audio recording of a lecture by Eli Cohen, the director of Ayala Water and Ecology, on the Freshkills Park Blog. AW&E is an engineering firm based in Moshav Zippori, Israel. Their organization has been involved in a number of impressive phytoremediation projects. The lecture including questions and answers is just over an hour. The link on the Freshkills Park Blog to the pdf of his slides is broken, but I was able to find it here. I recommend using it to follow along.

The presentation only touches the surface of the phytoremediation capabilities of the plants and processes in AW&E’s projects and leaves you wanting to know more. Despite this, the implementation of the concepts provides a great opportunity to see the potential of this strategy to address serious contamination issues. Every day green infrastructure projects are filtering and remediating stormwater runoff. It is interesting to see similar concepts being used to tackle industrial clean up and other difficult environmental problems.

-Brian Phelps