Cleaning Up Toxic Waste With Plants

Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by Daniel Mosquin, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    “Phytoremediation is basically a solar-powered pollutant-removal system.”

    More...
     
  2. fungi99

    fungi99 Active Member

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    I did read about some soil bacteria that can depolymerize vinyl chloride but never heard about plants... :)
     
  3. pccrozat

    pccrozat Member

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    hi

    i understand the process, but i still am confused about what happens to that toxic stuff that ends up in the plant? how do we remove it? it may be that i didn t understand everything in wikipedia.

    i am very interested in this subject for a problem i have: i am in charge of rain water catchment basins in a city outside of Lyons (France). a connecting problem had the raw sewage of 2 houses going directly in one of the basins for about 6 months.

    i'm wondering if phytoremediation can be appropriate.
     
  4. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    What is the collected rainwater used for? I would be concerned with the potential health risks associated with raw sewage - do kids and dogs swim in it, - is it used to water vegetable gardens?

    Has the collected water by the health authorities? While biological treatment of sewage is way outside of my expertise the health risk may be negligible and treatment may not be necessary but the water would have to be tested to know.
     
  5. pccrozat

    pccrozat Member

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    the water is infiltrated. i guess that there are no real risk that the water tables are polluted since the organic matter should be absorbed by the groud and filtrated out.

    i am more concerned about the pollution of the top soil at the bottom of the basin: there is always a bit of water there and lots of animal, possibly kids. i would also be interested in having some kind of vegetation (non linious) for landscaping reasons. pf both objectives of depollution and landscapîng were compatible it would be interesting
     
  6. brahea22

    brahea22 Member

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    I know of a new palmetum being built in Tenerife on top of a landfiil site. They already have a well established collection with some amazing specimens. Does anyone know of plants deep rooted enough to help clean soil deep down?
     
  7. pccrozat

    pccrozat Member

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    what is a palmetum?
    tks

    pierre
     
  8. brahea22

    brahea22 Member

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    A bit like an arboretum except solely a collection of palms. This is one of the most exciting new collections in Europe - not open to the public yet because of funding shortages but with much dedication from the head gardener I hope it will open someday. Gases are being vented from the landfill and some specimens were lost initially. The remaining palms seem to be growing well but any plant that could help to clean the site would be a help.
     
  9. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    They have been trying out several species of Pteris ferns here in Southern Texas to clean up the mess they made drilling oil for all these years. Apparently there are a few that are incredible about leeching arsenic from the soil, and storing it up in the fronds.
     
  10. pccrozat

    pccrozat Member

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    I am still puzzled about where the toxic wastes go eventually? if the green wastes are not treated as toxic wastes don't the toxics end up back in the soil?

    Pierre
     
  11. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    That would be my thought, though there have been some studies that show certain plants taking up toxins and converting them to something less harmful.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The principle is that if you have land contaminated with low levels of a toxic metal, the plants grown will take it up out of the soil, leaving the soil clean. The plants are harvested and incinerated, with the toxic metal remaining in the ash. This (now concentrated into a very small volume) can either be buried deep underground (e.g. in an old mine) if the metal has no commercial value, or (more often), used as a profitable souce for the metal to be extracted for industrial uses (e.g. copper as a soil contaminant is toxic, but as a metal, is valuable).
     
  13. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Just adding myself to thread to get new mail. I have made up a very localised reed bed to filter my grey water before it heads into my garden proper. I don't know if it is done correctly but all seems to be surviving and it smells clean.

    Liz
     
  14. greenthumb95

    greenthumb95 Active Member

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    Hi, about the sewage going into a rain water collection system in france, you could try bioremediation. Bioremediation is where bacteria and other microrgnisms are added to a polluted area, then the microrganisms eat the pollutants and turn it into thier waste products which are harmless. It is frequently used in dumps and landfills where they belive harmfull substances may of been. I hope this helps.


    greenthumb95
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Nobody has mentioned Water Hyacinth (Eichornia) yet - it's fantastic for uptake of heavy metals like Arsenic and Lead.
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lorax they would hang me if I planted that here. It is a big NO NO.

    The grey water through my reed bed is washing and bath water not toilet that goes into a septic system. It is illegal to to not have a septic or where it is possible be attached to the mains sewage. My rain water is now being gathered in tanks and hopefuly will be added to the water for flushing the toilets and doing the washing.

    Liz
     
  17. pccrozat

    pccrozat Member

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    I ll look that up. thank you
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  19. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Ah yes.... I totally forgot the invasive nature out of biome. Eichornia is native here and we use it to reclaim land that was used for gold-mining or gold-washing, as well as to trap out heavy metals that occur naturally in some of our water supply (yay, volcanoes!)

    Even so, when we have flooding it takes over the country.
     
  20. Dragon

    Dragon Member

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