Across the country, in distressed urban centers, hundreds of thousands of industrial sites have been left lying fallow. These properties, known as brownfields, embody the story of America’s twentieth-century industrial might and bear the mark of that period’s unenlightened practices. Their closing and subsequent abandonment culminated in the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs, the creation of urban blight and the legacy of environmental contamination. However, research suggests that brownfields may be the missing link in the emerging green economy and one of the keys to America’s economic comeback.
Brownfields, born from defunct industrial facilities, are a growing problem in the world today. Current cleanup techniques are invasive, expensive, energy dependent, and restrictive. Perhaps a better and more innovative solution to the problem is a form of bioremediation called phytoremediation.