Registered Charity Number: 1037414

Bioremediation / Phytoremediation Willows.

May 23rd, 2018 in News by admin

The Trust has been invited to carry out a trial to use our knowledge and experience gained over the last 25 years into using willows to remediate a large site in the UK (A further report will deal with the exact location).

The site was used to dispose of acid tars, the residues of the oil recycling industry of the 1960s and 1970s.The residue on the trial site is many metres in depth with a semi solid crust for its surface. In the past large amounts of other waste has been tipped into the liquid to both attempt to solidify the tars and cover over the surface. These attempts have failed over the years.

It is possible to walk over the surface though care needs to exercised in warm weather as if you stay stationary you find your feet start to sink slowly into the surface. The tar pit is recognised as a major contaminated site. In the past such sites have either been dug up, mixed with cement and lime and either reinterred in the pit from which the waste had been extracted or interred in another void elsewhere: otherwise the waste has been capped off with cement and left to be forgotten.

Such activity is unsustainable in the long run, there are several hundreds if not thousands of such or similar sites across the UK. It is not acceptable to relocate the waste making it someone else’s problem. The trial that is to be started soon is the largest to be carried out in the world. This is very fortunate for us, it is also nerve racking. The works the Trust will carry out will be monitored independently by the University of Nottingham.

The site is a remarkable one, it has been a clay quarry, coal mine and is now a developing piece of valuable habitat set amongst old opencast coal mine restorations. The land has naturally regenerated itself, orchids, birch, oak, blackthorn have all seeded themselves across the site where they were able to set themselves. There are Great Crested newts alongside other reptiles and other fauna spread across the area. The use of willows will not harm any of this natural regeneration and will add to the diversity.

A small offshoot of the trial site that will also be part of the trial demonstrating the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms that will be hosted naturally by the willow roots and taken through the tars to their full depth.

Author: admin

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