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Phytoremediation: Helping the Earth Heal Itself

5 years after buying the former DuPont Paint industrial park in Flint, MI we are very close to receiving a NFA - "No Further Action" status. This is amazing news for a property which was predicted to require 'decades' to become a 'clean industrial site'. DuPont has reserved a $50 million due care fund, to clean up the site and hasn't needed much more than $1M to get to the current status.

How did such a rapid clean up happen?

It was certainly helpful that Lear purchased the land up hill from our site, they and RACER Trust spent 'a lot' of money to clean this parcel. But there is more to the story of how we cleaned our land and closed out over 35 test wells.

I read an article 6 years ago about Phytoremediation. It involved pine trees with deep roots, tall grasses and even the use of hemp (male not THC) plants. Although we never tried the hemp for legal concerns, upon buying this site we immediately planted 45 young pine trees, and over 100 tall grass plants. Using the well sites as our guide, we placed the new tree down hill from each test well. We also put tall grasses around several of the well sites. The well sites which were first to be closed correlated with the number of tall grasses we planted. The ones closest to the office were first to close, the ones at the north end which did not get tall grasses are the 3-4 which are still open and being tested.

Could it really be this simple to clean industrial sites? We will tell you more in future blogs. DIRT is investing in this process and working with experts in the fields of Biology, Chemistry and Healthy Sciences. Permaculture is our guiding principals and the economics is compelling. #buyUglyDIRT

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