Direct Transpiration and Naphthalene Uptake Rates for a Hybrid Poplar Based Phytoremediation System

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Virginia Tech

Direct transpiration rates and plant uptake of naphthalene by a hybrid poplar phytoremediation system located in Oneida, Tennessee were determined using hydrologic and groundwater concentration data. Water table recession analysis techniques were employed to determine direct transpiration rates from the saturated zone of the shallow, unconfined aquifer underlying the site. Direct transpiration rates varied over the growing season (late March to mid-October), with a maximum and mean daily direct transpiration of 0.0100 and 0.0048 feet/day, respectively. During 2004, the maximum direct transpiration rate was observed in May, and rates declined starting in June due to an associated decline in the water table. A technique was developed to estimate the volumetric transpiration rate of each tree based on the breast-height diameters and seasonally variable direct transpiration rates. During peak transpiration, the larger trees at the study site were estimated to directly transpire 4 to 13 gallons per day per tree. Plant uptake rates of naphthalene were estimated by superimposing spatial data (volumetric transpiration rates and naphthalene concentration in groundwater). The mass loss rate of naphthalene from the aquifer as a result of plant uptake during July 2004 was 335 mg/day which only represents 0.117% of the aqueous mass plume. Monthly groundwater profiles showed a decrease of the saturated thickness beneath the system of hybrid poplars between the dormant and active season. This study suggests direct transpiration rates and plant uptake of naphthalene are dependent on variables including climatic parameters, magnitude of the saturated thickness, and the concentration of naphthalene in groundwater.

Evapotranspiration, Transpiration, Hybrid Poplar, Naphthalene, Plant Uptake, Phytoremediation