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Phytoremediation: A Growing Field with Some Concerns

Eric Carmen/ARCADIS Geraghy & Miller Phytoremediation--the use of trees and plants to help clean up toxic waste sites--is not only a growing science; it's also a growth industry. One report estimates that the phytoremediation market in the United States will expand from $16.5-$29.5 million in 1998 to $55-$103 million by 2000 and to $214-$370 million by 2005.1 In addition to offering job opportunities for environment-related physical scientists, the industry also will need life scientists, s

Harvey Black

Eric Carmen/ARCADIS Geraghy & Miller
Phytoremediation Processes
Phytoremediation--the use of trees and plants to help clean up toxic waste sites--is not only a growing science; it's also a growth industry. One report estimates that the phytoremediation market in the United States will expand from $16.5-$29.5 million in 1998 to $55-$103 million by 2000 and to $214-$370 million by 2005.1 In addition to offering job opportunities for environment-related physical scientists, the industry also will need life scientists, such as biochemists, to staff its multidisciplinary needs.

"For a number of applications where phyto is being used today, such as controlling or removing organic contaminants from groundwater or controlling leachate [runoff fluids from landfills containing potentially hazardous material], the technology will [become] reasonably widely accepted," says David Glass, president of D. Glass Associates Inc., an analyst and author of the self-funded market report. "If it proves cost effective, it will really take off....

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