Poplar & Willow: Their Genetics Launched Phytoremediation - They are poised to help solve tough global pollution problems
From Lauren Sorgaard
Speaker: Louis Licht, CEO, Ecolotree
Description: Modern phytoremediation manages Contaminants-of-concern (COC) each with specific legal permit requirements. Three different phytoremediation case histories will be detailed: a. A 15-acre landfill cover irrigated 15 million gallons of leachate treatment in Chicago; b. Panelview RV park with 5,000 gallon/day waste water treatment in rural Oregon, c. Urban industrial groundwater solvent plume irrigated onto an on-site buffer in Seattle.
Poplar/willow genetics allow construction of a robust and predictable reactor treating 'pollutants'. The Salicaceae rhizosphere pumps carbon and oxygen in and water out of the subsurface growing media. Sugars and proteins made by leaves move down phloem to grow roots that leak food for the attached microbes. With dense deep roots a root zone can grow a mixed microbe mass with greater diversity and activity. COCs adsorb and mineralize year-round even in dormancy because of stored carbon deposited by summer growth.
Ecolotree started planting in 1988. After 33 years planting trees around the country, over 50 EBuffers and ETCaps are functioning well. These technologies have a lower carbon footprint than other pollutant removal techniques. With a strong permit that takes full advantage of the rhizosphere reactor treatment capacity, a phytoremediation system can help keep the owner of liability in compliance. Greatly reduced operating costs often increase the value of a property.