Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Tactic CR-11: Removing Contaminated Vegetation

Remove contaminated vegetation to prevent remobilization of spill residuals, and to promote recovery of the remaining live plant tissues. Only remove above ground vegetation that is dying or dead (Fig. 55). Avoid damaging plant roots to maximize sprouting of new shoots and leaves. Collect the trimmed material into bags by hand, raking, or shoveling, and remove from the site for proper disposal. Minimize contact between contaminated and uncontaminated vegetation.


Figure 55. Trimming vegetation

General Considerations and Limitations

  • Place plywood on the ground to minimize trampling and shearing of roots.
  • This tactic is less likely to cause physical damage when the ground is frozen and vegetation is dormant.
  • This tactic is labor-intensive and may not be suitable for large sites where site access would cause physical damage to areas unaffected by the spill.

Equipment, Materials, and Personnel

Note: Personnel typically work in pairs when cutting and trimming vegetation.

  • String or line trimmer (1 operator) – to cut grasses and sedges (non-woody vegetation) on larger sites.
  • Scissors or knives (1 worker) – to cut vegetation on smaller sites.
  • Hand clippers, pruners, or brush cutter (1 worker) – to cut woody plant stems.
  • Rakes (1 worker) – to collect clipped and cut plant materials.
  • Bags for collecting cut leaves.
  • Cans for collecting woody plants.

Updated: 12/20/2010