Browfield Research to be Conducted by University of Western Ontario

February 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Innovative new techniques to neutralize contaminated “brownfield” industrial sites and toxic hotspots such as the Port Stanley harbour are being devised at the University of Western Ontario.

A few examples of how to remove contaminants include; bombarding the chlorinated solvents found at most former industrial sites with tiny “nanoparticles” engineered to react chemically and eliminate the pollution, said researcher Jason Gerhard. A second approach, said the geo-environmental restoration engineer, is to burn carbon-based contaminants such as coal tar where they lie. Through the principle of “self-sustaining smoldering,” the tar is consumed.

The idea behind the research, funded by $4.5 million in grants from governments and the private sector, is to develop modern, cost-effective approaches to deal with contaminated sites without digging up toxins and exposing the public to them.

Port Stanley, with its witches’ brew of contaminants, is an ideal site for real-world trials, he conceded. In fact, preliminary work is under way.



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