Phytotechnologies use plants to remediate or contain contaminants in soil, groundwater, surface water, or sediments. They have become attractive alternatives to conventional cleanup technologies due to relatively low costs and the inherently aesthetic nature of planted sites.

The ITRC Phytotechnologies Team’s Phytoremediation Decision Tree (PHYTO-1, 1999) was designed to allow users to take basic information from a specific site and, through a flowchart process, decide whether phytotechnologies are feasible at that site. The Phytotechnology Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document (PHYTO-2) followed in 2001 to help regulators understand, evaluate, and make informed decisions on phytotechnology proposals. It included a description of phytotechnologies, regulatory and policy issues, technical requirements for phytotechnologies, stakeholder concerns, case studies, and technical references.

In 2008, former team members updated the guidance with more recent research and findings. Phytotechnology Technical and Regulatory Guidance and Decision Trees, Revised (PHYTO-3, February 2009) replaces both earlier publications, merging their concepts and including new, practical information on the process and protocol for selecting and applying various phytotechnologies as remedial alternatives. The Internet-based training course, updated simultaneously, was also produced in 2009.

Phytotechnologies entered ITRC as an emerging technology and exits the project development and implementation process as a mature and widely used technique for remediating sites.