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Tomorrow Today

Cleaning up a former chemicals production site

The city of Leuna was the location of one of the former East Germany's most important industrial facilities, and is now one of the Federal Republic of Germany's biggest clean-up sites. The groundwater in the area is heavily contaminated with MTBE and benzene, which is highly carcinogenic.

Watch video 03:50

Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research are testing various ways of cleaning up Leuna cheaply and effectively, and have discovered that a combination of the right micro-organisms, ceramic balls and willow trees does the trick.