The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers


Main concept/description of the technique

Sometimes grouped under the more encompassing remediation technology of “bioremediation”, phytoremediation is the process of using vegetation to break down and/or remove environmental contaminants. While extensive planning and design work may be required, the main process is driven by nature and often requires little to no additional maintenance inputs. It is one of the most natural and passive techniques available, and is often less expensive as a result. With rising energy and labor costs, it is being reconsidered as a viable treatment technique, especially in cases of strong public awareness. The “green” nature of the process helps fill a niche role and can favorably influence the public’s perception of a once toxic site (Mudhoo, 2011). It has grown from a $20 million per year to a $350 million per year industry in less than 10 years (Rock et al, 1998). This remediation strategy has been aggressively pursued by industry and academic scientists as a sustainable technology with widespread application in both developed and developing countries.


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