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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Deployment of Phytotechnology in the 317/319 Area at Argonne National Laboratory-East
December 2003

In 1999, Argonne National Laboratory-East (ANL-E) designed and installed a series of engineered plantings consisting of a vegetative cover system and approximately 800 hybrid poplars and willows rooted at various predetermined depths. The plants were installed using various methods including the TreeMediation� TreeWell� Treatment System developed by Applied Natural Sciences. The goal of the installation was to protect downgradient surface and groundwater by hydraulic control of the contaminated plume. This goal was to be accomplished by intercepting the plume with the tree roots, removing moisture from the upgradient soil area, reducing water infiltration, preventing soil erosion, degrading and/or removing pollutants from the subsoil and groundwater.

The EPA Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Program (SITE) and ANL-E evaluated the demonstration for a three-year period (1999-2002). The effectiveness of the various plantings was monitored directly through groundwater and soil measurements and samples, and indirectly via plant tissue analysis, microbial surveys, geochemical analysis, soil moisture probes and sap flow monitoring. A weather station with data logging equipment was installed. ANL-E predicted physical effects of the plants on groundwater using a standard hydrological model. The treatment period will continue for up to 20 years.

This Innovative Technology Evaluation Report presents the results from sampling, monitoring, and modeling efforts to date. The project has demonstrated success in reducing contaminated groundwater flow and taking up contaminants at the source; it also provides insight into the techniques that are useful for measuring and predicting the effectiveness of future similar projects.


Steve Rock

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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