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The establishment of a vegetative cover to enhance evapotranspiration and control runoff and drainage was examined as a method for stabilizing a landfill containing coal combustion waste. Suitable plant species and pretreatment techniques in the form of amendments, tilling, and chemical stabilization were evaluated. A randomized plot design consisting of three subsurface treatments (blocks) and five surface amendments (treatments) was implemented. The three blocks included (1) ripping and compost amended, (2) ripping only, and (3) control. Surface treatments included (1) topsoil, (2) fly ash, (3) compost, (4) apatite, and (5) control. Inoculated loblolly (Pinus taeda) and Virginia (Pinus virginiana) pine trees were planted on each plot. After three growing seasons, certain treatments were shown to be favorable for the establishment of vegetation on the basin. Seedlings located on block A developed a rooting system that penetrated into the basin media without significant adverse effects to the plant. However, seedlings on blocks B and C displayed poor rooting conditions and high mortality, regardless of surface treatment. Pore-water samples from lysimeters in block C were characterized by high acidity, Fe, Mn, Al, sulfate, and trace-element concentrations. Water-quality characteristics of the topsoil plots in block A, however, conformed to regulatory protocols. A decrease in soil-moisture content was observed in the rooting zone of plots that were successfully revegetated, which suggests that the trees, in combination with the surface treatments, influenced the water balance by facilitating water loss through transpiration and thereby reducing the likelihood of unwanted surface runoff and/or drainage effluent.
Christopher D. Barton is an assistant professor of forest hydrology and watershed management in the Department of Forestry at the University of Kentucky. As a research hydrologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (1999–2003), his research focused on hydrochemical processes associated with the restoration and remediation of disturbed and/or contaminated areas at the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site, South Carolina.Donald H. Marx is a chief scientist at the PHC Reclamation, Inc., Frogmore, South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. While with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, he researched on the use of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi to improve forest generation and mined-land reclamation. He received the Marcus Wallenberg Prize for his practical work on mycorrhizal fungi.
Domy C. Adriano is a professor of environmental soil science in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, and is also a senior biogeochemical ecologist at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina. His research interests include biogeochemistry of trace metals in the soil-plant system, risk reduction, and management in metal-contaminated sites.
Bon Jun Koo is a research associate at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina, and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the South Carolina State University. His research has focused on the bioavailability of trace elements and radionuclides in the soil, rhizosphere biogeochemistry, and remediation fields (i.e., bioremediation, phytoremediation, and monitored natural attenuation).
Newman (University of South Carolina and the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory) has researched on a variety of plants and processes; genetic engineering of plants for phytoremediation potential; uptake and degradation of chlorinated solvents, chlorinated aromatics, and pesticides; rhizosphere enhancement of contaminant degradation; and nitrogen reduction in soil and groundwater and remediation of explosives, and has installed several commercial phytoremediation sites.
Stephen J. Czapka is a biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and has an M.S. degree in biology from Towson University. His research interests lie in wildlife biology and habitat restoration. His current projects include avifauna and hydrology responses to Carolina Bay restoration in South Carolina and the examination of techniques to reforest riparian corridors in Delaware, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
John Blake is the assistant manager for research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service–Savannah River, New Ellenton, South Carolina. He heads a collaborative research program involving scientists from federal, state, and private sectors in the areas of biodiversity and ecosystem management, wetland restoration and banking, forest operations research (fire, silviculture, and wildlife management), and environmental remediation.