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Station 6 - Decontamination

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Station 6 - Decontamination
Photo: Michel Labrecque

A sustainable and economical alternative… with a touch of natural beauty

Soil decontamination is estimated to be a $30-billion industry in Canada. However, the same traditional excavation and landfill methods have been used for decades to dispose of organic compounds (petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, solvents, oils, paint, explosives, pesticides, etc.) and inorganic compounds (fertilizers, trace metals and metalloids, etc.).

In Québec, there are believed to be roughly 6,000 such sites. In Montréal, 1,600 vacant lots are contaminated. Sites like these can be found all over the world, often containing mixes of different contaminants.

In light of the human health risks arising from these contaminants and the enormous financial burden associated with conventional decontamination methods, phytoremediation has proven to be a solution that is more respectful of the environment as well as more esthetic and economical.

According to the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, investing in the redevelopment of contaminated sites is a greater stimulus for the Canadian economy than investments in any other area.

Did you know that...

Pétromont’s decontamination of two sites in use since the 1950s—one in Varennes and the other in Montréal-Est—is a phytoremediation success story. Pétromont has set its sights on a carbon-neutral operation. The bundles of willows used in soil rehabilitation operations are subsequently burned and used as fuel by the Holcim cement works in Joliette.

The Pathway to Phytotechnologies and its decontamination site

At station 6, visitors will learn about the innovative principles of phytoremediation, i.e. the technologies that use living plants to clean up soil, air and water.

Built on an old stone quarry, which became a landfill, this area of the Botanical Garden still has a few deep pockets of contaminated soil where phytoremediation will be used to clean up the contaminants.

This station will demonstrate how businesses, municipalities and citizens can use green decontamination technology.

The photo above shows the Parc d’entreprises de la Pointe-Saint-Charles phytoremediation site, which was decontaminated by the Botanical Garden’s experts. They will use the same techniques at Station 6.

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