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Vetiver has done its job! 14 years later stable slopes, clean road drains, and now mainly native species

Waste Water Clean-Up in Calfornia using the Vetiver System

Monday, March 22, 2010

It is always exciting to see how Vetiver can be applied so successfully to resolve a problem, and its versatility in application. The preceding blog showed its use for extreme slope stabilization.  This blog will address how just a few Vetiver plants can be used to "scrub" highly contaminated water in California.  The work was carried out by Bio Clean Environmental Services at Ocean Side, California. This company specializes in storm water treatment.  Zack Kent, Storm Water Engineer, writes: "The Ocean Side project was an interesting situation because it treats wash down water from a harbor boat wash site, along with many little sewer spills coming from recreational vehicles (RVs) on a continuous basis. It’s a very dirty site. We have removed over 4,000 pounds of oil laden sediment from the pre-treatment chamber in the last two years. The system treats 2,000 to 8,000 gallons of water every day. We chose Vetiver grass because it has the ability to grow in saline water, which we have there all the time, and the ability to deal with high pollutant loads which we also have at that installation. It was a great choice and a real success story."  There is a power point that contains images and data about this project on TVNI's website. Also a very good field report with images prepared by Michael Alberson and Tim Klein

The Vetiver (approximately 18 plants) was planted in a concrete treatment box in a special media "One of the ways we get the Vetiver to grow so quickly is we don’t use any soil. It’s a soil-less media made consisting of expanded aggregates and a proprietary hydroponics media. This allows for fast growth." Over a period of 15 months the plants put out a massive root system, and in doing so resulted in high uptakes of N, P and a range of heavy metals.

The key data included removal efficiency when comparing effluent inflow to outflow: nitrate 76%, phosphate 70%, TSS <15 microns 82% , copper 53% (undetectable), lead 100%, Zinc 79%, TPH (gasoline) 42%, TPH (diesel) 100%; TPH (motor oil) 100%, fecal coliform 84%,E. coli 79%, and Enterococci 70%

The Vetiver was trimmed at intervals, and was dug up after 15 months

Here follows some images:



















These results support Paul Truong's data developed in Australia and once again confirms the utility for vetiver to treat contaminated water.

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