A large-scale hydroponic system to phytoremediate arsenic-contaminated groundwater using Pteris vittata (Chinese brake fern) was successfully tested in a field. In this 30-wk study, three frond-harvesting regimes (all, mature, and senescing fronds) and two water-refilling schemes to compensate for evapotranspiration (high-As water of 140-180 μg/L and low-As water of <7 μg/L) were investigated. Two experiments (Cycle 1 and Cycle 2) were conducted using the same plants in 24 tanks with each containing 600 L of arsenic-contaminated groundwater and 32 ferns. During Cycle 1 and with initial As of 140 μg/L, As in tanks refilled with low-As water was reduced to <10 μg/L in 8 wks compared to <10 μg/L in 17 wks in tanks refilled with high-As water. During Cycle 2 and with initial As of 180 μg/L, the remediation time was reduced by 2-5 wks, indicating that more established ferns were more efficient. In areas where clean water is limiting, refilling high-As water coupled with harvesting senescing fronds is recommended for more effective As phytoremediation.
Published by Elsevier B.V.