phytoremediationEnvironmental pollution is a major threat to our planet. Pollution of precious water supplies is particularly egregious. Electric utilities, oil refineries, and chemical plants produce billions of gallons of contaminated wastewater each year. In agriculture, toxic levels of various elements pollute the groundwater as a result of excessive fertilizer application (e.g., nitrates and phosphates), and through leaching of naturally occurring trace elements in the soil after irrigation (e.g., selenium). Pollution of both water and soil poses a significant hazard to human health.

Finding suitable treatment technologies to clean up contaminated water and soil wastewater is not easy. The few technologies that are available are usually prohibitively expensive. Because the need for practical and cost-effective procedures for cleaning up contaminated water and soil is so great, researchers at the Terry lab have dedicated themselves to achieving this goal through phytoremediation, a cost-effective and environment-friendly approach for cleanup. Over the past 18 years, we have had demonstrable success in cleaning up contaminated wastewater and soil (see Lab Research). If you are an industrial or government agency seeking to remediate or restore a contaminated site, and would be interested in establishing a research collaboration, please contact us at nterry@berkeley.edu.