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Superfund site is cleaned up 100 years ahead of schedule

This is Science Today. A Superfund site in Visalia, California has been taken off the Environmental Protection Agency's contamination list 100 years ahead of schedule, thanks to technology developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. Lab geophysicist Roger Aines says dynamic underground stripping, or DUS, basically steam cleans the soil.

Aines: Some of the most difficult contaminants underground are very similar to any kind of contaminant you get into clothing or something else. It's easier to get out if you get it hot. It just turns out that steam is a very efficient way to heat soil.

Narrator: The six-acre Visalia site was contaminated by creosote used to treat utility poles. The DUS method was used by Southern California Edison, who were looking for a faster and more efficient way to treat the soil and groundwater.

Aines: This project was very successful because the laboratory brought in the science that it takes to understand these processes and then Edison brought in the engineering and the knowledge of the environmental issues.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.