Bench Scale Treatability Studies of Contaminated Soil Using Soil Washing Technique
Soil contamination is one of the most widespread and serious environmental problems confronting both the industrialized as well as developing nations like India. Different contaminants have different physicochemical properties, which influence the geochemical reactions induced in the soils and may bring about changes in their engineering and environmental behaviour. Several technologies exist for the remediation of contaminated soil and water. In the present study soil washing technique using plain water with surfactants as an enhancer was used to study the remediation of soil contaminated with (i) an organic contaminant (engine lubricant oil) and (ii) an inorganic contaminant (heavy metal). The lubricant engine oil was used at different percentages (by dry weight of the soil) to artificially contaminate the soil. It was found that geotechnical properties of the soil underwent large modifications on account of mixing with the lubricant oil. The sorption experiments were conducted with cadmium metal in aqueous medium at different initial concentration of the metal and at varying pH values of the sorbing medium. For the remediation of contaminated soil matrices, a nonionic surfactant was used for the restoration of geotechnical properties of lubricant oil contaminated soil samples, whereas an anionic surfactant was employed to desorb cadmium from the contaminated soil matrix. The surfactant in case of soil contaminated with the lubricant oil was able to restore properties to an extent of 98% vis-à-vis the virgin soil, while up to 54% cadmium was desorbed from the contaminated soil matrix in surfactant aided desorption experiments.
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