Posted by: r.m. | December 27, 2008

love them trees!

Super Trees Clean up Superfund Sites

“….The trees stand about 30 feet high. More important, their roots extend 30 feet down, where they tap the contaminated aquifer and literally pull pollutants out of the ground….Under normal circumstances, tree roots prefer to sip water from sources as close as possible to the surface. But these trees, planted in 1999, don’t have that option. They are impressed laborers, set into plastic-lined pits that force their roots to tunnel deep for drink. The roots lift the contaminated water into the tree trunks, where transport tissues conduct it on up to the branches and leaves. From there, as droplets transpire through leaf pores, the water evaporates and sunlight breaks down the dissolved solvent molecules, rendering them harmless.”

check it out for details 🙂

ah, the glory of trees.



  1. This is great! Not only would they be cleaning the superfund sites, but they would be also repairing damaged land, enhancing property values, improving soil health and supporting diverse vegetation. But i wonder if this can be applied to ecologically different sites…

  2. it is nice to hear that trees can reduce the volume and toxicity of of contaminants. But does it do so permanently??? i heard that many Superfund Sites have contaminants remaining after the remedy is completed and will require long term monitoring and that really true?

  3. Impressive! But is it really as simple as you say?
    Are the pollutants, extracted by the plant and transported upward, trully degraded or just moved from one place to another?

  4. If phytoremediation will be a solution for enviromental remediation, than it’s TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!
    As I read it, it’s very effective, polluted water can be used by plants to grow and can in the same time be converted to nontoxic chemicals.
    But, i used to think that polluted water kills plants and hinders their growth, i couldnt get how they can effectiely use it???

  5. Hopefully this doesn’t have to have any ifs and buts! i’m somehow not surprised that nature finds ways to take good care of itself, and it seems to me it is always one or more steps ahead of us mindless polluters!
    The question we should be asking is simple: will nature take our quality of life and well being into consideration? Would it even “care” about having to sacrifice one arrogant species for the general good?
    I hope that no one doubts that nature is ultimately much stronger than we are, if only because we need it while it doesn’t…

  6. it great to know that plants can benefit from toxins and transform them into non toxic materials. but the question is till when can it take this?! does it mean that we can continue polluting relying on these plants?

  7. ok,this is a very impressive technique but will it last if we don’t stop polluting?and i must agree with rim and wonder how polluted water can be efficiently used by plants.

  8. It’s not their job to do that!!!!We (humans) are the source of pollution, thus it would be our responsability to clean and detoxify polluants and not the trees’ responsability!
    I think this detoxification process costs the trees a lot of energy, and consequently many of their metabolic proceses will be affected and reduced at the expense of CLEANING!

  9. Wow i never knew about this before. it’s amazing how God was able to make a solution for everything…but’s for us now to find a solution for what we are doing.

  10. Heh! there’s the solution for global warming!
    It’s amazing how Nature, through evolution became a set of complementary homeostatic steps. It’s like the cows that eat the grass, ferment it, and then excrete it as manure for the grass to grow again.. it’s a cycle that humans unfortunately have broken. what humans fail to understand is that they are not above Nature, and Nature is not there to feed them and keep them rich… Humans are part and parcel of Nature. We belong in the cycle, not outside of it, so if we break it, we will suffer the consequences.

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