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Posted Sat Dec 27 2008: from Discover:
Super Trees Clean up Superfund Sites
Argonne, Illinois -- A legacy of the Argonne National Laboratory�s early foray into atomic energy lies buried here on its campus, about 25 miles southwest of Chicago. Although solid wastes from all sorts of experiments have been sealed in a landfill, certain liquids, mostly chlorinated solvents, still taint the water that runs under the site. The ongoing attempt to remove these contaminants occupies an enormous experimental facility that covers four acres and looks like a forest. "I like to brag that I have the biggest lab at Argonne," says agronomist Cristina Negri, indicating an expanse of 900 poplars and willows growing in rows. The trees stand about 30 feet high. More important, their roots extend 30 feet down, where they tap the contaminated aquifer and literally pull pollutants out of the ground.
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