Kansas State University students restore nitrate-polluted soil

By on September 3, 2013
A cottonwood tree planted by Kansas State University students at the Sylvan Grove site. (Credit: KSU)

A cottonwood tree planted by Kansas State University students at the Sylvan Grove site. (Credit: KSU)

Students from Kansas State University took on a land restoration project usually left up to government agencies, in an effort to remove excess nitrate from soil, according to a KSU press release.

Soil and groundwater in a Sylvan Grove, Kan., site had high levels of nitrate that was leaching into groundwater. Students from KSU took on restoration of the land, where liquid and dried fertilizer had been stored.

They started by sampling soil and water, determining that they needed to remove soil and then plant vegetation that consumed high amounts of nitrate.  Removed soil was used as fertilizer on nearby cropland.

The students who removed the tract’s soil graduated and a new group of students are monitoring nitrate levels in soil and water.  They have also planted cottonwood trees and native grasses to take up nitrate.

Top image: A cottonwood tree planted by Kansas State University students at the Sylvan Grove site. (Credit: KSU)

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