The Public Works Department, in cooperation with the Hinkson Creek Watershed Restoration Project, integrated phytoremediation technology at the city’s landfill. Phytoremediation uses plants and trees to remove or neutralize contaminants in polluted soil or water. “Contaminants are not present, but the city is taking a proactive approach. Think of it as an insurance policy for the future”, said Richard Wieman, Solid Waste Utility Manager.
The project began in 2007 as part of a grant funded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency Region 7. The cost-share program consists of approximately seven aces, with 1800 Cottonwood and Sycamore trees provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Phytoremediation is the treatment of environmental problems through the use of plants and assist in depolluting contaminated soils with plants able to contain or eliminate metals, pesticides, solvents, explosives, crude oil and its derivatives, and various other contaminants from the soil. It’s a clean, efficient, inexpensive and non-environmentally disruptive, as opposed to processes that require excavation of soil.
The city is responsible for maintaining grass control around the trees and to water and protect the young trees during the first two years.