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

  • Author / Creator
    Kneteman, Kelly A
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-09
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R38T3R
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Renewable Resources
  • Specialization
    • Soil Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dyck, Miles (Renewable Resources)
    • Nichol, Connie (Agrium Inc.)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Spaner, Dean (Crop Breeding/Agronomy)
    • Thomas, Barb (Renewable Resources)