Phytoremediation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated sediment: A greenhouse feasibility study

K. E. Smith, A. P. Schwab, M. K. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Contaminated sediments dredged from navigable waterways often are placed in confined disposal facilities to prevent further spread of the pollutants. Reducing contaminants to acceptable levels would allow for disposal of the sediments and further dredging activity. A greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate plant treatments and the addition of an organic amendment to decrease the concentration of PCB congeners found in Arochlor 1260. Sediment treated with the amendment and either low transpiring plants or no plants had the greatest removal of the PCB congeners. High-transpiring plants apparently prevented the highly reducing conditions required for reductive dechlorination of highly chlorinated PCBs. Most likely, the amendment provided labile carbon that initiated the reducing conditions needed for dechlorination. The sediment moisture content and moisture-related plant parameters were significant predictors of the PCB loss. Carex aquatalis and Spartina pectinata are predicted to be the most effective plant treatments for phytoremediation of PCBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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