Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Environmental Engineering
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Sophia Hassan - North Carolina A&T State University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Niroj Aryal, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro NC
The intermittent use of carbon-rich food processing wastewater to soil with the purpose of treatment creates an environment in the rhizosphere that lacks free oxygen and permits the movement of metals. Due to this, metals and nitrate contaminate the groundwater, a source of drinking water for humans. This research will evaluate the processes that occur in a vegetated soil system when food processing wastewater is applied using sand columns. It is hypothesized that the exudates will increase the microbial population as well as subsequent rhizodegredation. It is also hypothesized that root oxygenation will increase soil redox potential and decrease the mobilization of metals and subsequent leaching to groundwater. The purpose of the experiment is to assess the effects of exudates and root oxygenation on the movement of metals in the sand. This experiment will use six silica sand, six-inch diameter by fifteen-inch height, columns that will be equipped with a platinum redox potential probe to monitor the oxidation-reduction potential. The columns will also be instrumented with a soil oxygen probe to monitor the soil?s oxygen levels. Measurements will be taken continuously. Of the six columns, half will have Populus deltoides x Populus nigra OP367 (tall shade poplars) plants and the remaining will have no-plant controls. Wastewater will be prepared in the laboratory to imitate the characteristics of wastewater from a food processing factory. Wastewater will be applied for one month and metals in the leachate water will be examined weekly. We expect rhizostimulation to only finitely contribute to the growth of the microbial population, however, due to the abundance of carbon in wastewater it is expected to see the population grow. We do, however, expect oxygenation to be a major contributor to increasing redox potential. The results of this experiment will be significant to the expansion of plant-based engineering solutions to lessen environmental issues.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Niroj Aryal, email@example.com
Role: It is ongoing research that is currently at the experimental setup stage. In a few months, I expect to finish setting up the experiment and start collecting data as mentioned in the abstract.