Arsenic-Tainted South Berkeley Lot Focus of Rehab Project

November 13, 2012

By Judith Scherr, Contra Costa Times

Part of a weed-filled arsenic-contaminated south Berkeley lot will soon turn leafy green, thanks to some 2,000 Chinese brake ferns to be planted as an experiment aimed at sucking the arsenic out of the soil and into the fronds.

"This fern (Pteris vittata) has been studied a lot, but mainly in greenhouses," said Céline Pallud, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science who will head up the two- to five-year project, funded initially through Berkeley Partners for Parks by a $40,000 UC Berkeley Chancellor's grant.

The project will use about one-fourth of the old Santa Fe Railroad right of way between Ward and Derby streets, just west of Sacramento Street.

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