Phytoremediation of Petroleum in Groundwater

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Petroleum Bulk Plant

This Northern Wisconsin petroleum bulk plant is located along railroad tracks adjacent to a residential neighborhood.  Significant amounts of petroleum contaminants were discovered in the soil and groundwater.

The most heavily contaminated soils were excavated and treated off-site.  After evaluating several final, long-term remedial solutions for residual petroleum in groundwater, phytoremediation was selected as the most cost-efficient.

Approximately 200 hybrid poplar trees were planted on the site directly atop the residual petroleum groundwater contamination plume.  The trees have flourished, and are capturing and treating an estimated 600,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater annually, which is approximately equal to the groundwater flux throughout the site.

The phytoremediation remedy costs 50 percent less than a traditional pump-and-treat system.  The phytoremediation system is solar‑powered, reducing the energy input necessary for other forms of remediation.