« Case Study: Asphalt Emulsion Spill - Lake Remediation | Main

Case Study: Shell Phytoremediation and Monitoring Program


Shell Phytoremediation and Monitoring Program


Peterborough, Ontario


A phytoremediation program was designed and implemented in 2007 to remediate soil and groundwater impacted with petroleum hydrocarbons.

Regulatory Context

Remediation under O.Reg. 153.04

Sustainable elements/approach

A phytoremediation system was installed at a former bulk fuel facility in Peterborough in order to facilitate remediation of petroleum hydrocarbons found in soil and groundwater.

Given that the site was located within a parkland area, the design of the phytoremediation system took into account the requirements for remediation by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) but also relied on information collected from a terrestrial vegetation survey. This resulted in the design of a phytoremediation system that consisted of the installation of hybrid poplars coupled with other post-remediation species. The longer-living, post-remediation species (such as black oak, white and red pine) were included in the program to ensure ecological succession after the phytoremediation period and beyond the short lifespan (20-30 years) of the hybrid poplars. 

In order to address the shallow groundwater impacts, a hydraulic control barrier was installed by deep-planting (up to 1m) select hybrid willows species.  

In total, 345 trees were planted in the 0.1715 hectare planting area.

Performance was monitored by conducting semi-annual groundwater monitoring and ecological monitoring. Monitoring continued until 2009 when the phytoremediation cover had become established and performance monitoring indicated that groundwater results from June 2009 in general were either stable or decreasing. Neither additional monitoring wells nor additional remedial actions were further required by the MOE.

Value Added

The sustainable benefits of this approach include:

  • In-Situ remediation resulted in a reduction of emissions, energy consumption, and resources, as well as the benefits of plantings.
  • Stakeholder involvement in development of the remediation plan.
  • Cost efficient remediation that attained the defined objectives.
  • Minimized long term disruption of site and usage of land resources by avoiding the excavation and off-site transport of impacted material for treatment and/or disposal.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>