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Following the success of our first workshop in Grafton in May, we are excited to offer the second workshop in our 2014 series.
Since its commissioning at the Fisherville Mill Canal in Grafton, Mass. in 2012, the combined technologies of an Eco-Machine™ with a mycelial loop and Canal Restorer have treated over 300,000 gallons of petroleum-contaminated waters and sediment. The system is remediating 95% of the hydrocarbons left behind by 200 years of industrial abuse. The LSL facility is a unique and living example of the power of the ecological design. Today we are in possession of an incredible resource and opportunity to use this site as a teaching landscape. The project is building a bridge between a toxic legacy and a healthy, abundant world. The LSL facility is a unique and living example of the power of the ecological design. Today we are in possession of an incredible resource and opportunity to use this site as a teaching landscape. The project is building a bridge between a toxic legacy and a healthy, abundant world.
The two-day, interactive and collaborative workshop includes one day of classroom learning led by Dr. John Todd, internationally recognized pioneer in ecological wastewater treatment, on the principles of ecological design and the history of his groundbreaking work. The second day of the workshop is spent constructing a vertical filtration system incorporating biochar and mycellium for the remediation of nutrients and contaminents in the canal waters. Vertical construction responds to the need to maximize treatment capabilities within spatially-constrained environments. Participants are invited to get as hands-on and as dirty as they would like! We encourage experiential learning, team-building, collaboration and personal lines of inquiry into the systems.

Comments from the May workshop participants:

"Inspiring, empowering, community building. It had a retreat feel to it. I feel like I could build these systems--maybe ignorantly--but you've fostered confidence and passion. It has been great to share the experience with folks from difference backgrounds."


"It was awesome-even better than I thought it could be."


"I am extremely pleased and excited that this organization of people is as friendly, welcoming and engaging as I'd hoped. Ya'll are wonderful to work with—your expertise and approach are genuinely enthralling."


"I really enjoyed being around so many people from different fields who were interested in these types of projects and hear how they were going to implement aspects of what we learned here. Everyone was really friendly, material was well presented."


"Affirming and inspiring (sorry to sounds like a self-help book but its true!). Such a great experience to meet like-minded people and get some practice putting systems together in real life."

Professional $750
Student $500


One full scholarship (not including travel and accomodations) is available. Applications are due by July 1st, the scholarship will be awarded no later than July 15th. To apply, please email a copy of your resume or transcript to lauren@toddecological.com along with a seperate document that answers the following questions:


a. What are your current areas of interest?
b. What do you expect to get out of the workshop?
c. How will attending this workshop benefit your future work as you currently envision it? How do you intend to carry this information out into the world?

Accomodations:

The Grafton Inn
The Beechwood Hotel
Red Roof Inn Boston-Southborough/Worcester


Free camping is also available.


Dr.Todd's Bio

Eugene Bernat
Eugene Bernat is vice president, co-founder and co-owner of Cover Technologies Inc. and its affiliates, located in Mount Holyoke, Mass. Mr. Bernat graduated from Colby College and did graduate work in forest management and forestland investment analysis at the Duke University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Mr. Bernat has founded and co-founded several successful businesses in the resource management field. He has over 25 years experience in natural resource management, industrial byproduct recycling, organic waste composting, site remediation and biomass energy fields. As a principal and project lead in his professional activities, Mr. Bernat specializes in understanding regulatory issues and environmental policies and their impact on the general public and business community.

 


A Brief History of the Fisherville Mill Canal: An Industrial Legacy
The history of the Fisherville Mill site is well documented and in many ways an emblematic story from America's industrial days. In 1832 the Fishermill Mill was built during the heyday of the Industrial Revolution at the geographic heart of American manufacturing in Grafton along the Blackstone River Corridor. Next to the mill site the Fisherville Mill canal was dug to transport goods. The property that encompasses the mill site and canal is 32 acres. The mill was in continuous operation for 150 years, home to makers of cotton goods, fabrics, aluminum goods, metal parts and foam rubber. In 1881 the original mill building burned to the ground and in 1891 the mill building was rebuilt, a classic red brick industrial structure.
With each new industry that operated out of the mill building came a new set of contaminants and by-products that were stored on site or discharged into the Blackstone River and the canal. From historical documents and from research and exacavation performed more recently we know a sampling of the site contaniments:
Process waste water and dyes were deposited to dye ponds at the northern end of the site that discharged into the Blackstone River until 1960.

 

Two 20,000 gallon underground storage tanks were installed in the 1940s to store heating oil to power steam boilers.

Through the 1960s steel was cleaned on site with an unknown chemical.

From 1964 to 1986 an aluminum lawn-furniture manufacturer used petroeum-based compounds in their processes.

From 1974 to 1974 the facility discharged rinse water associated with a “paint line” and wash water with detergent.

Liquid waste may also have been discharged into a dry well at the western corner of the mill building.
In 1986, industrial use of the mill building ceased and the property was abandoned. In 1977, the EPA was brought in to address heating oil from the underground storage tanks that was observed to be leaking into the canal. They placed oil booms in the canal and began to skim oil off the canal, a process that continues to this day. Partially buried solid materials, including rubber products, nylon webbing, aluminum tubing and nylon string, were dug up from the northwest corner of the site along the banks of the Blackstone River. Numerous tests by the EPA and other agencies determined that the soil at the site was contaminated with petroleum products. Metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCS) and non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) were detected in the groundwater. The Town of Grafton's drinking-water wells are near the site and there was serious concern that the contaminated groundwater plume would migrate toward the wells.


On August 3, 1999 the mill building burned to the ground in a 23-alarm fire which released plumes of airborn asbestos and spurred the removal of over 3,000 tons of lead-contaminated ash and debris and the development of a groundwater containment system, including a dam to contain the canal water, to prevent the migration of VOCs into Grafton's drinking water.


Our Long-Term Vision: A People-Powered Project


Using ecological design and living technologies to clean the canal at Grafton is costing a fraction of conventional remediation methods, such as capping and dredging, and using a fraction of the energy and resources. Most positively, this project has become the locus for a new kind of collaboration across a wide range of disciplines. The Living Systems Laboratory functions as a public and transparent bio-remediation and ecological design site where students, educators, scientists, landscape architects and the public are working together to address the complex issues of such an historically-significant site.


The land that LSL occupies was donated to the town of Grafton as a public park by Eugene Bernat. The park is now used regularly by joggers, dog walkers and those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Anyone can visit and use the LSL for education and research. The National Park Service is using the LSL as a pilot location for developing its science-education program. Several graduate students from nearby universities are using the LSL to research their theses.  The LSL has established research collaborations with the Brown University Superfund Research Labs, Clark University, Worcester Polytechnical Institute and the Conway School of Landscape Design. The LSL is also serving as a living classroom for other area colleges, universities and high schools. The LSL has a open-source website that encourages any project participants to access information and update the website with their own findings.


The Next Steps for the Living Systems Laboratory


The vision of LSL is to facilitate the clean-up of the entire length of Blackstone River. The Fisherville Mill was one of several industrial sites along the river and the combined impact of these activities has left the river severely degraded. The LSL and JTED will install a series of Aquatic Restorers at strategic locations down the entire length of the river to digest sediment and to promote ecological seeding, as well as contributing new habitat for emergent plant species and re-diversifying the plant population. They will also serve as a refuge for invertebrates, amphibians and fishes.
This project will be accomplished in several phases. The first phase of the project is to extend the Aquatic Restorer down the entire length of the Fisherville Mill canal. The second phase is to move out into the river and install the Aquatic Restorers which will be built with attached pedestrian walkways. These walkways will create a sense of stewardship as well as offering a new public space, improved accessibility and a new perspective by which to view this beautiful river.