Phytoremediation Mechanisms of a Creosote-Contaminated Site

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Virginia Tech

In 1990, creosote contamination was discovered at the location of a railroad tie treatment facility active in the 1950s until 1973. In 1997, a phytoremediation field study was implemented with the planting of 1,026 hybrid poplar trees and 36 cells of vegetated and unvegetated grass and legume treatments. The hybrid poplar tree phytoremediation system was designed to control infiltration and groundwater flow and enhance subsurface remediation. The grass phytoremediation system was designed to control erosion and enhance surface soil remediation. The overall objectives of this study were to: (1) assess the extent of subsurface remediation, (2) determine the mechanisms of remediation attributable to the hybrid poplar tree phytoremediation system and microbial degradation, (3) assess the effects of the grass phytoremediation system on surface soil remediation, and (4) determine the mechanisms of surface soil remediation resulting from the grass phytoremediation system.

hybrid poplar, creosote, field study, grass, phytoremediation, PAHs