Read the full article by Flinders University (Phys.org)

“Ahead of World Water Day, new studies at Flinders University provide valuable insights into removing toxins from polluted waterways and improving filtration at urban wetlands.

One study found a wetland plant capable of reducing PFAS in soil and water, and another looked for better urban wetland water flow management during summer.

In a glasshouse experiment, the first study found a common Australian native wetland plant capable of tolerating and reducing major contaminant Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

‘We found the wetland plant Juncus sarophorus has a high tolerance to PFAS and capable of overall PFAS removal rates between 9% and 11% at a time, which could be increased with floating reed beds in the water column. It also is effective at accumulating and transferring PFOA and PFHxS from the soil to an above-ground vegetation biomass,’ says Flinders University hydrogeologist Dr. Ilka Wallis, from the National Center for Groundwater Research and Training whose research covers pollutants and recharge of aquifers.

‘Together with its high growth rate, this plant appears to be a suitable candidate for phyto-extraction of short-chained PFAS compounds, but less effective at removing PFOS owing to this compound’s long chain-lengths and ability to be absorbed by soils.’

PFAS has been detected globally in a wide range of environments, there is an urgent need for effective remedial treatment solutions at the field scale.

‘Phyto-remediation presents a potential remediation strategy for PFAS that would allow efficient and cost-effective remediation at large scales,’ says co-author and environmental health researcher Flinders University Professor Howard Fallowfield.”…