The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Phytoremediation

Applicability 

Soil with shallow contamination, generally less than ten feet deep, can be cleansed through vegetation. This method works best for a “polishing treatment” with low-levels of existing contamination. Target contaminants generally include hydrophilic or hydrotolerant heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel, zinc, arsenic, selenium and copper. Additional contaminants include radioactive nuclides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, petroleum byproducts, and explosive residues (Sharma and Reddy, 2004).

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