PhytoLab: Reducing Recidivism through Brownfield Remediation Training
Policy reforms by the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission resulted in the consolidation of Department of Defense weapons proving grounds into large, vegetated, and toxic sites. Soil and groundwater leeching and the unknown locations of unexploded ordinances (UXOs) prevent the re-zoning of the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) towards new land uses.
The PhytoLab emerges as a contemporary proving ground within these contexts. The MMR’s status as an EPA single-source aquifer protection zone and ecosystem reserve incentivizes the site’s transition into the long-term testing experimentation, monitoring, and scaling of phytoremediation in the cleansing and restoration of contaminated soils and groundwater.
PhytoLab deploys two flexible operational protocols to work with the unknown locations of UXOs and contamination sites. The first protocol develops phytoremediation test patches in previously excavated and known locations with UXOs and soil contamination. The second protocol expands to locate and excavate yet-un-mapped contamination and exploits existing remediation infrastructures to host staging and testing facilities. Tree, grass, and wetland patches are cultivated in response to existing ecosystem conditions and are re-worked in anticipation of diverse future operations and succession of uses. Excavation sites near inland water bodies and ground water sinks provide testing and monitoring sites for wetland patches.
Cape Cod, MA, USA