The potential use of willow for remediation of diesel contaminated soils

April 4, 2013 • Filed under: News — melanie.rohr

Graduate student Jessica Starsman will discuss her research on the effects of felt leaf willow, and more specifically salicylic acid, on the remediation of soils contaminated with diesel and 1-chlorooctadecane at this week’s WERC seminar, April 5, 2013,

Friday Seminar Series

  • What: Assessing the Potential for Rhizoremediation with Native Willows for Soils Contaminated with Diesel and 1-Chlorooctadecane in an Alaskan Village
  • Who: Jessica Starsman
  • When: 3:30-4:30 p.m., Friday, April 5
  • Where: 531 Duckering

The Yukon Koyukuk Tank Farm was established in Kaltag, Alaska, in the early 1960’s and since that time there have been multiple heating oil spills. Thus, the soil in the area has been found to be contaminated with diesel range organics and in certain locations 1-chlorooctadecane. Due to the presence of weathered diesel, Kaltag’s remote location and the costs of ex-situ remediation, the use of Salix alaxensis (felt leaf willow) for rhizoremediation of the site will be studied. Microcosm studies will be performed with crushed Salix alaxensis root, mimicking root turnover, to determine the effects of salicylic acid on the remediation of weathered diesel and 1-chlorooctadecane. Because cold weather dominates much of the year, half of the microcosms will be kept at 4ºC and half at 20ºC. Microbial community development will be tracked with DNA fingerprinting to determine if the presence of salicylic acid will influence the microbes present. If found to be effective, the use of Salix alaxensis would be advantageous as cuttings could be taken directly from the local population, less maintenance would be required and overall costs reduced.

Aerial view of villageDiesel barrel

(Photos above by Jessica Starsman)