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Phytoremediation of contaminated soil from a petroleum refinery land treatment unit

by Gomez, Katherine Emma

Abstract (Summary)
Phytoremediation, the use of plants to remove contaminants from soil, has attracted a lot of attention because of its low cost relative to other remediation strategies and its non-invasive approach to returning land to a more pristine state. Application of phytoremediation to field sites is hampered by the lack of knowledge concerning which types of sites may be effectively treated by phytoremediation. There may be a wide array of contaminants present, and there are many variables associated with a specific site’s history that could influence remediation efforts. The distribution of PAHs and certain heavy metals were measured at 2 different depths and from unplanted and planted plots across a petroleum refinery landfarm. The contaminant data was related to microbial biomass, activity and community structure. Large differences existed between the upper and lower soil layers in terms of contaminant levels, and microbial population. The differences between the planted and unplanted plots, however, were not significant probably because the unplanted plots had only been plant free for a period of 1 year prior to sampling. Plants of several species were grown in the laboratory on the contaminated soil to evaluate the potential of phytoremediation to treat the soil and return it to an acceptable level of contamination. After 4 months of growth the concentration of PAHs was significantly lower, while the heavy metal concentration was unchanged. Microbial changes had occurred in the soil as evidenced by changes in microbial activity, and there was a plant species effect on the soil microbial community structure.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:phytoremediation pahs heavy metals

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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