JUL 30, 2021 10:39 AM PDT

Using Iron Waste to Clean Pesticides

WRITTEN BY: Samantha Lott

Groundwater is something most people use every day. Whether for drinking, washing, or growing the food you eat, it is part of our lives. But groundwater is not unlimited. It’s very slow to refill, as surface water must slowly filter through all the dirt and rock in the surface layer. Once it settles into a layer below the surface, it is considered an aquifer. We are using up our aquifers faster than they recharge naturally. When they refresh with surface water, much of the incoming water is contaminated with our industrial and agricultural chemicals. We must keep this valuable natural resource clean if we are to continue to remain healthy.

Pesticides are common contaminants in surface and groundwater because of their widespread use in global agriculture. Though many problematic pesticides have been regulated or banned in the United States over the past century, there are places where dangerous pesticides are still in use or have only been recently regulated. Many of these pesticides persist in the environment over long periods of time and can be transported to groundwater, where the contaminants can sit for years.

New research by Environmental Pollution offers a solution that may be cheaper to implement than previous solutions for four of the pesticides that have been banned in the US for decades. The four pesticides tested were dieldrin, endrin, DDT, and lindane.

The proposed treatment uses iron turning waste (tiny shards of shaved iron) sandwiched between layers of sand to filter contaminated water in a permeable reactive barrier. This treatment removed nearly all (94%) of all pesticides tested from the water. The iron reacted chemically with the pesticides to dechlorinate them and render them harmless. This is a very inexpensive and efficient way to clean some compounds from water because iron waste and sand are both very cheap.

Previous research from the journal Science of the Total Environment proposed this solution for other pesticides (Endosulfan and Heptachlor), and confirmation that it continues to work on more chemical compounds is good news for the places that are in the process of phasing out these pesticides.

 

Sources: USGSEnvironmental PollutionScience of the Total Environment

 

 

About the Author
  • A dedicated and passionate naturalist, nature photographer, and freshwater biologist.
You May Also Like
JUN 29, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Are Hydropower Plants as Green as They Seem?
JUN 29, 2021
Are Hydropower Plants as Green as They Seem?
Hydroelectric plants are touted for their ability to provide so-called green energy, which aims to continue to satisfy d ...
JUL 04, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Unprecedented Heat Batters Western Canada, Kills Hundreds
JUL 04, 2021
Unprecedented Heat Batters Western Canada, Kills Hundreds
The heat wave that has been devastating communities in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States may ...
JUL 16, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Oceans Experience Heatwaves Too
JUL 16, 2021
Oceans Experience Heatwaves Too
With climate change affecting our air temperatures, we also see an impact on our world's oceans.
JUL 27, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Growing Microbes to Feed the World
JUL 27, 2021
Growing Microbes to Feed the World
With the ever-increasing population on earth, feeding the world is requiring more food production than ever before. The ...
SEP 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Increasing Production of Aquatic "Blue" Foods Promotes Sustainable Access To Healthier Diets
SEP 21, 2021
Increasing Production of Aquatic "Blue" Foods Promotes Sustainable Access To Healthier Diets
What is a “blue” food? Hint: it doesn’t mean foods that are blue in color.  “Blue” fo ...
SEP 24, 2021
Earth & The Environment
We've Killed Half the World's Coral
SEP 24, 2021
We've Killed Half the World's Coral
A recent study published in One Earth on Sep. 17 paints a poor picture for the state of the world’s coral reefs. L ...
Loading Comments...