September 26, 2014 – Contaminant Uptake in Food Crops grown on Brownfield Sites

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Sustainability Series
Dr. Ganga Hettiarachchi and Dr. Sabine Martin, Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University

1 AICP CM Credit

Growing of local crops, especially in urban areas is on the increase and many gardens are or will be located on land that may be impacted by previous use. These kinds of properties, i.e. vacant or abandoned properties with real or perceived contamination issues are called “brownfields”. Tens of thousands of brownfields can be found across the U.S. This webinar will highlight the latest Kansas State University research data on contaminant uptake by food crops grown on brownfields across the U.S. sites slated for community gardens. Three urban community garden sites located in Kansas City, Missouri; Tacoma, WA; and Indianapolis, IN will be used as examples. Contaminants associated with these sites were lead, arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Field test plots were established within the community gardens and three vegetable crop types with three very different growth and contaminant uptake patterns were planted over two growing seasons. We will discuss our findings regarding plant uptake of lead, arsenic and PAHs, the effectiveness of selected site-specific soil amendments to reduce bioavailability of lead, arsenic and/or PAHs, associated best management practices focusing on reduction of both direct (soil-human) and indirect (soil-plant-human) exposure to the gardeners and their children, and potential human health risks associated with growing crops on brownfields sites.

The Presenters

GangaHettiarachchi(2)Dr. Ganga Hettiarachchi is an Associate Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. Dr. Hettiarachchi’s research interests currently focus on agricultural soilscontaminated urban soils, and mine-impacted soils/geomaterials in order to understand
biogeochemical transformation of nutrient and potentially toxic elements and their role in controlling soil-plant
transfer, mobility, and attenuation processes.

20121120Martin001 (ZF-8430-06491-1-001)

Dr. Sabine Martin is a Program Associate in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University and President of CTOR Solutions, a small company dedicated to assist communities with revitalization of blighted and underutilized properties (brownfields). Dr. Martin’s expertise and interest in site revitalization, community outreach and gardening (she is a Master Gardener) came together as a co-Principal Investigator under the EPA grant that made the presented research possible.