Narrator: This is Science Today. Natural attenuation is a cost effective technology many environmental researchers are turning towards in their efforts to get rid of hazardous waste. William T. Frankenberger, Jr., a professor of soil microbiology and biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside admits natural attenuation is a slower process.
Frankenberger: As long as it's not a threat to the environment, that's OK. As long as it doesn't get into the groundwater and contaminate a drinking water source, that's OK - but let nature clean it up.
Narrator: Frankenberger, Jr. is doing just that. His lab developed a patented technique using carbon-packed agents, such as orange peel, to stimulate microorganisms to take up selenium and convert it into a non-toxic gas, which would be dispersed into the air.
Frankenberger: We're not adding organisms, those organisms are there. They've been there for many, many years. So what we're doing is, we're just trying to stimulate their environment for growth so that they can remove the selenium.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.