Sustainable Remediation

EPA Grant Number: R828770C003
Subproject: this is subproject number 003 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R828770
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center
Center Director: Banks, M. Katherine
Title: Sustainable Remediation
Investigators: Shann, Jodi R. , Rogstad, Steven
Institution: University of Cincinnati
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2004
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management


The goal of the proposed research is to determine if natural revegetation and community succession is an effective and sustainable means of stabilizing and remediating sites contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals. An extension of this objective is to measure the degree to which the community that develops through revegetation is similar (in either form or function) to those in local, uncontaminated areas.


The current approach to in situ remediation using plants involves labor-intensive site preparation, planting, and maintenance of the system by replanting, watering, fertilizing, and controlling pests. Though these activities may be less expensive than many traditional cleanup strategies, they are not necessarily cheap or sustainable over the increased duration needed to achieve acceptable remediation. Many of the above costs and uncertainties could be avoided by allowing sites to naturally revegetate via plant and seed immigration from surrounding (edge) communities. Revegetation by natural processes would eliminate planting costs, and would better ensure the success of plants, as they would only persist in areas with conditions that support their growth. Subsequent succession of the plant community across the site would likely lead to a self-sustaining system of increasing compositional and, perhaps, functional biodiversity. If natural revegetation results in effective soil cleanup and leads to a community that looks and functions in a fashion similar to others in the vicinity, the outcome would be both site remediation and ecological restoration. Therefore, we propose to monitor the establishment and succession of natural plant communities on a closed field site contaminated with PAHs and metals. While following the revegetation rate and pattern, we will simultaneously determine the effectiveness of the vegetation on the remediation of the site.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 14 publications for this subprojectView all 108 publications for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

Remediation, phytoremediation, PAHs, metals., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Hazardous Waste, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, hazardous waste treatment, revegitation, contaminant transport, revegetation, contaminated sediment, PAH, chemical transport, contaminated soil, ecological impacts, treatment, community succession, heavy metal contamination, phytoremediation, extraction of metals, metal wastes, sustainable remediation, heavy metals, metals

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R828770    HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828770C001 Technical Outreach Services for Communities
    R828770C002 Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities
    R828770C003 Sustainable Remediation
    R828770C004 Incorporating Natural Attenuation Into Design and Management Strategies For Contaminated Sites
    R828770C005 Metals Removal by Constructed Wetlands
    R828770C006 Adaptation of Subsurface Microbial Biofilm Communities in Response to Chemical Stressors
    R828770C007 Dewatering, Remediation, and Evaluation of Dredged Sediments
    R828770C008 Interaction of Various Plant Species with Microbial PCB-Degraders in Contaminated Soils
    R828770C009 Microbial Indicators of Bioremediation Potential and Success