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Phytoremediation of Nitrogen Impacted Soil and Groundwater at a Fertilizer Facility in Central Alberta Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kneteman, Kelly A
Supervisor and department
Dyck, Miles (Renewable Resources)
Nichol, Connie (Agrium Inc.)
Examining committee member and department
Thomas, Barb (Renewable Resources)
Spaner, Dean (Crop Breeding/Agronomy)
Department of Renewable Resources
Soil Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
In-situ remediation techniques such as phytoremediation have shown promise as economical alternatives for reducing the risk of environmental contaminants at impacted sites. Research trials were initiated to determine the efficacy of phytoremediation for soil and groundwater contaminated with high levels of nitrogen fertilizer at a fertilizer plant in Alberta, Canada. Experimental trials were conducted in environmental growth chambers, and carried out for a growing degree day period equivalent to an average growing season. Initially, plant growth trials were conducted with soils artificially contaminated with varying levels of ammonium nitrate to determine the approximate upper limit of plant nitrogen tolerance. Historically contaminated soil and groundwater containing high levels of ammonium, nitrate, phosphate and sulfate fertilizers was then investigated using electromagnetic surveying, sampling and chemical analysis. Using this data, samples were collected and growth chamber experiments designed to determine if plants could assist in the remediation of naturally occurring soils and groundwater contaminated with excess fertilizer. Results indicate that plants can take up excess soil nitrogen caused by fertilizer contamination. Phytoremediation is potentially effective under conditions where soils are contaminated by high concentrations of a variety of plant nutrients so long as conditions are not phytotoxic, as well as being economical, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. The results of this research may be used to develop phytoremediation programs at western Canadian fertilizer facilities.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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