The partners of the LIFE + Riverphy Project met yesterday in Murcia to discuss the continuity and planning of activities in the Post-LIFE stage.

The LIFE Riverphy Project did start in 2011, due to the need to provide an environmentally sustainable and respectful solution to the contamination of the river channel of the Guadalentín River, contaminated by heavy metals from industries (mainly tanning of skins), farms (in its pigs) and agriculture (as a consequence of excessive fertilization with pig slurry).

To carry out the rehabilitation of the riverside, techniques based on bioremediation such as phytoextraction have been used: a phytoremediation technique based on the absorption of polluting metals by the roots of plants and their accumulation in stems and leaves; proceeding later to the harvest and transport to a cement plant to produce energy by means of its combustion. The ashes generated are incorporated in the production of cement, since it requires certain quantities of heavy metals for its manufacture. In this way, the objective Zero Residue is achieved.

Traditionally the techniques that have been used for the recovery of sediments in rivers contaminated with heavy metals have focused on ex-situ physical and chemical techniques, such as solidification, soil washing, etc. With the application of phytoremediation techniques, the aim is to eliminate a large part of the heavy metals from the sediment, reducing environmental and public health risks.

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