Monitoring Environmental Effects at an Established Phytoremediation Site

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Contract Period:

7/1/2004 - 6/30/2006

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  • William DeVita, UW-Stevens Point
  • Mark Dawson

Phytoremediation is the use of plants to accumulate or degrade environmental contaminants for soil and/or groundwater. Its use has been demonstrated for certain metals, petroleum products and some pesticides. The established phytoremediation effort, located in Bancroft , WI , was initiated in June 2000 with the planting of 768 hybrid poplars and 66 willows. It was established with expectations to 1) retard the flow of contaminated groundwater off site 2) degrade or accumulate contaminants of concern, and 3) provide a base of information regarding poplar and willow viability in a degraded environment. Following 3.5 years of growth, we have some trees that exceed 7 m in height and 10 cm in diameter. We also have a region of severe tree mortality or growth impairment. Trees downgradient of this “dead zone” appear healthy it is expected these trees will capture contaminated groundwater from the water table or capillary fringe. Groundwater monitoring wells and piezometers are in place to assess contaminant levels at the water table and deeper into the aquifer. Three groundwater elevation data loggers along with a weather station are also in place on site. Objectives for the next 2 years of study include: semiannual groundwater sampling and analysis, maintenance of groundwater data loggers, maintenance of weather station, periodic (but less frequent) weed control, periodic operation and maintenance of irrigation system, and operation of electric fence (for deer control).

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