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  • Environmental officials at Fort Jackson, South Carolina,

  • have been cleaning up an old fuel depot for about 10 years.

  • As James Williams reports, cleanup workers have abandoned machine power

  • and turned to Mother Nature to get the job done.

  • This abandoned fuel depot used to supply the entire installation.

  • Six underground storage tanks held 72,000 gallons of fuel.

  • Fort Jackson eventually switched to aboveground tanks,

  • but that didn't stop fuel from leaking into the soil and groundwater.

  • Lahiri Estaba is the environmental cleanup manager at Fort Jackson.

  • He says they have used machines to help clean the groundwater

  • but now they're turning to Mother Nature to do the rest.

  • We planted these trees--175.

  • It's a combination of poplars and willows,

  • almost an even number of each.

  • The process is a fairly young science called phytoremediation.

  • The trees basically just draw the water,

  • and they don't metabolize the constituents--they give them off.

  • Just checking the irrigation.

  • Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • have spent about two decades studying the ability of certain plants to clean up,

  • or remediate, soils contaminated by heavy metals.

  • I first learned about it at a Princeton groundwater course in '95.

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  • These poplars and willows are particularly suited for volatile organics

  • and they use them a lot for chlorinated solvents and petroleum.

  • It's a low cost method with benefits to humans.

  • Better air from them giving off oxygen as well.

  • Fort Jackson does not get drinking water from this location,

  • but by law, the installation must restore the area to drinking water standards.

  • Estaba says it's difficult to predict exactly when,

  • but at a capacity of moving up to 800 gallons a day,

  • he believes the trees can remediate more than 90% of the area within 3 years.

  • James Williams, Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Environmental officials at Fort Jackson, South Carolina,

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B2 fort jackson fuel cleanup drinking water mother nature

Phytoremidiation

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    QAM Chen posted on 2013/11/30
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