Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael L. Shelley, PhD


Phytoremediation is a recent addition to the numerous methods used today to remediate ground water contaminants. It is proving more effective and efficient compared to existing remediation techniques. The use of phreatophytes, or water seeking trees, has great potential for phytoremediation. These trees are fast growing, long lived, grow their roots down to the ground water table, transpire large amounts of water, and are proven to actively remove contaminants from the soil horizon. The purpose of this research is to develop quantitative concepts for understanding the dynamics of TCE uptake and transpiration by phreatophytic trees over a short rotation woody crop time frame. This will he done by constructing a system dynamics model of this process and running it over a wide range of conditions. This research will offer managers a tool to simulate long-term uptake and transpiration of TCE at potential sites. The results of this study indicate that TCE is actively removed from the soil horizon by phreatophytic trees and a significant proportion of this TCE is then transpired. Changes in soil horizon parameters, xylem flow rates, and variables in the uptake equation greatly influence TCE uptake rates as well as transpiration. Also, parameters used in equations representing flows in and out of the leaf greatly influence transpiration. Better understanding of these processes is essential for managers to accurately predict the amount of TCE removed and transpired during potential phytoremediation projects.

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