One more reason to hug a tree | Living Green | Indy Week
Pin It

One more reason to hug a tree 

click to enlarge living_green.jpg

For many years, an abandoned Coast Guard base along the Pasquotank River in northeast North Carolina leaked fuel into the soil and groundwater, an environmental legacy left over from when the military stored aircraft fuels there from 1942 to 1991.

Now 3,000 hybrid poplar and willow trees planted on the five-acre site may be the answer to cleaning up the pollution in this sensitive watershed.

With $255,000 in grants from the federal government and British Petroleum, the military, industry, state and federal environmental officials and researchers at N.C. State University are collaborating on a project to show that green technology can deal with the pollution more effectively than conventional remediation practices.

Planted in 2006 and 2007, the trees help clean groundwater through phytoremediation, a process by which root systems absorb—think of them as living vacuum cleaners—and break down the pollutants. The degraded contaminants are then released into the air through leaves and stems. Trees also phytoremediate by introducing microorganisms into the soil that break down the pollutants.

Standard methods of remediation, such as the use of "oil skimmers," which extract leaked fuel from contaminated soil, were tried but proved ineffective. Phytoremediation was chosen because it could help slow the movement of polluted groundwater to the Pasquotank River.

And because nothing is ever as good as it seems, a word of caution: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, scientists are studying whether insects and animals that eat the leaves or other parts of the trees could be harmed from the absorbed pollution.

  • Hybrid poplar and willow trees are cleaning up pollution in a northeast N.C. watershed through phytoremediation.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Living Green



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

After a lot of hard work and dedication by Citizenre senior staff, Citizenre closed on $20 million in financing (

by ltaylor on Rent the sun's power (Living Green)

ROBOTICALLY GROW SOLAR `~'

Very large solar capacity will have to be mass produced by robotic assembly lines HERE …

by fireofenergy on Form a sun bloc at solar energy discussion (Living Green)

Raleigh, N.C. – Multiple activities over a four day celebration will mark Earth Day 2010 at Cameron Village Shopping Center, …

by Pat Hunnell on Celebrate Earth Day (Living Green)

One of your readers commented about the Undertaken With Love website, which has a page of resources about home funerals …

by Holly Stevens on Green burials (Living Green)

Ten great pledges. But there's no need to have a compost pile that's slimey or stinky. No need to turn …

by Frank Hyman on Ten eco-pledges for the New Year (Living Green)

Comments

After a lot of hard work and dedication by Citizenre senior staff, Citizenre closed on $20 million in financing (

by ltaylor on Rent the sun's power (Living Green)

ROBOTICALLY GROW SOLAR `~'

Very large solar capacity will have to be mass produced by robotic assembly lines HERE …

by fireofenergy on Form a sun bloc at solar energy discussion (Living Green)

Most Read

  1. Drawn to Durham (Peripheral Visions)
  2. What Makes a Farm a Farm? (Back Talk)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation