Introduction to Phytoremediation
United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development
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Phytoremediation is the name given to a set of technologies that use different plants as a containment, destruction, or an extraction technique. Phytoremediation as a remediation technology that has been receiving attention lately as the results from field trials indicate a cost savings compared to conventional treatments. The U.S. EPA has a dual role in which it seeks to protect human health and the environment associated with hazardous waste sites, while encouraging development of innovative technologies that might more efficiently clean up these sites. This Introduction is intended to provide a tool for site regulators, owners, neighbors, and managers to evaluate that applicability of phytoremediation to a site. This document defines terms and provides a framework to understand phytoremediation applications. It is a complication of research and remediation work that has been done to date. The format is intended to be accessible to EPA RPMs, state regulators, and others who need to choose between alternate technologies, as well for site owners, consultants, contractors, and students who are interested in basic information. It is not a design manual, and is not intended to provide enough information to choose, engineer, and install a phytoremediation application. This work may also be used to help guide research, development, and regulation. Areas of needed research have been identified. By compiling the published and unpublished work, research repetition can be avoided, and areas of opportunity that need attention should be clear.