Crabgrass may be the bane of many homeowners but researchers think it might actually be useful for cleaning up some environmental messes. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson explains:
Crabgrass may be the bane of many homeowners, but researchers think it might actually be useful for
cleaning up some
the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson explains:
After years of pumping crude oil, the land around wellheads is usually coated
with a think, black crust.
In the past, oil companies have paid to have had to dig up those areas and
treat the contaminated soil as hazardous waste.
But scientists at the university of arkansas say there may be a cheaper,
easier way to clean up the oil:
by planting crabgrass around the wellheads.
Greg Thoma is an associate professor of chemical engineering.
“The contaminants are not taken up by the plant, per se, but the
plant provides a soil that is conducive to the growth of oil-degrading
Thoma says the crabgrass cleanup has shown promise in the lab, and it’ll soon
be put to the test in the field.
But he says the method won’t be a quick fix.
Thoma estimates it would take between five and ten years for crabgrass to
cleanse the soil around a wellhead.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Wendy Nelson.