Re: A question about biochar as a decontaminate #contaminate

Teel, Wayne


The South River Science Team based in Waynesboro, VA has done a number of longer term studies on mercury contamination in the river which comes in from eroding stream banks and contaminated soil leaching.  They have found that biochar (some sourced from Biochar Now in Colorado) does mitigate a substantial portion of the contamination from these sources.  (This is just the abstract.  There might be an Elsevier pay wall, but I have not pursued that.)

While the article is typical of science publications and calls for more studies, a standard practice, biochar is near the top of the mitigation techniques they use.  Of course this is for mercury, not lead, but I would suspect the same is true for that positive ion.  It is not frivolous, but it is also not without cost.  The real question is whether the costs are exceeded by the damage that mitigation would prevent.  We are not always good at answering that question.


Wayne S. Teel
701 Carrier Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: 540-568-2798
Fax: 540-568-2761

From: <> on behalf of d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:43:00 PM
Subject: [Biochar] A question about biochar as a decontaminate
There are lots of articles about the effectiveness of biochar as a heavy metal decontaminate (China/cadmium in rice paddies; Europe/lead at brownfields; US/old mine tailings, mercury). i have three questions: (1) Is it therefore reasonable to suggest the application of biochar soil amendment to urban lawns and playing fields to lock up low level lead contamination? or (2) to suggest the addition of biochar to stormwater drain systems to lock up, for example, low-level lead contamination in drain sediment during the mixing that takes place following a storm? Finally, (3) Is it reasonable to suggest the application of biochar to decontaminate flood mud or areas once covered in flood mud?

I am sure that there are preferred feedstocks, pyrolysis temps, etc. for each contaminate type, but my question is more general. It is really, "Is there any point? Anything to gain?" or would such an exercise be a total waste of money and frivolous?

Michael Shafer

Dr. D. Michael Shafer
Founder and Director, Warm Heart

+1 732-745-9295 | +66 (0)85 199-2958 | d.michael.shafer@... | Skype: live:d.michael.shafer53

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