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Phytoremediation gets the lead out

During the summer of 1999 a group of six students from Trinity College
planted special seeds in a vacant lot in Hartford, Connecticut.  The lot,
part of which once housed a paint store, was heavily contaminated with lead.
One area tested at over 1800 parts per million (the EPA limit for
residential property is 500 ppm).  After 2 crops of Indian Mustard, the lead
level was below 600 ppm everywhere, and below 500 ppm in 80% of the test
sites.  Plants are pulled up, dried, and disposed of as hazardous waste.
This total process is referred to as phytoremediation.
The Knox Parks Foundation is developing a community garden on the site this
spring, although they hope to further reduce lead levels with more
plantings.  This process has some interesting potential applications to
vacant lots, gardens, and residential properties, although it is far from
being an established and well regimented practice.
For more information on the project, contact Jack Hale at Knox Parks
Foundation (jackh@knoxparks.org) (860/523-4276) or visit the web site
created by the students who carried out the project
(http://caribou.cc.trincoll.edu/prog_soilanalysis/) or the web site for
Edenspace, the company that provides the seeds ( www.edenspace.com ).

Jack Hale

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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