Design of Soil Remediation Techniques from Column Leaching Test Results

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Civil Engineering, M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India

2 Department of Civil Engineering, Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Yelahanka, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India


The soil remediation at a contaminated site requires knowledge of contaminant transport parameters and processes. This paper presents the determination of transport parameters from column leaching tests in context with two soil remediation techniques i.e., soil washing and immobilization. To evaluate the soil washing technique, the column leaching tests on the polluted soil were conducted with diluted acid solutions of hydrochloric acid, ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid and ferric chloride to evaluate the leaching efficiencies of the selected leaching solutions. It was observed that the efficiency of diluted ferric chloride solution was higher as it removed the higher percentage of metals from the soil. From these test results, the contaminant transport parameters i.e., retardation factor and dispersion coefficient were determined which are useful to calculate the volume of leaching solution that will be required for soil washing at a site. As part of immobilization study on this soil, the soil was mixed with the selected amendments (lime, sodium hydroxide and cement) to increase the pH of the soil to 10 and the retardation factors were estimated through batch leaching test results. The retardation factors of different metals obtained with lime addition were found higher than the other amendments.To analyze the long-term stability of the amended mixtures, the leaching tests were conducted on amended soil samples and the immobilization efficiencies were estimated. It was found that the immobilization efficiencies were higher with lime addition and also concluded that the immobilization effiencies are directly related to retardation factors.


Main Subjects

  1. Gebreyesus, S. T. “Heavy Metals in Contaminated Soil: Sources & Washing through Chemical Extractants.” American Academic Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 1, (2014), 54–60. Retrieved from
  2. Morais, S., e Costa, F. G., and Lourdes Pereir, M. de. “Heavy Metals and Human Health.” In Environmental Health - Emerging Issues and Practice. InTech.
  3. Shayler, H., McBride, M., and Harrison, E. Sources and impacts of contaminants in soils. Cornell Waste Management Institute.
  4. Lin, C.-F., Lo, S.-S., Lin, H.-Y., and Lee, Y. “Stabilization of cadmium contaminated soils using synthesized zeolite.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 60, No. 3, (1998), 217–226.
  5. Langer, P. “Groundwater Mining in Contemporary Urban Development for European Spa Towns.” Journal of Human, Earth, and Future, Vol. 1, No. 1, (2020), 1–9.
  6. Ezirim, O. N., and Okpoechi, C. U. “Community-driven Development Strategy for Sustainable Infrastructure.” Journal of Human, Earth, and Future, Vol. 1, No. 2, (2020), 48–59.
  7. Bolan, N., Kunhikrishnan, A., Thangarajan, R., Kumpiene, J., Park, J., Makino, T., Kirkham, M. B., and Scheckel, K. “Remediation of heavy metal(loid)s contaminated soils – To mobilize or to immobilize?” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 266, (2014), 141–166.
  8. Hamby, D. M. “Site remediation techniques supporting environmental restoration activities—a review.” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 191, No. 3, (1996), 203–224.
  9. Mulligan, C. N., Yong, R. N., and Gibbs, B. F. “Remediation technologies for metal-contaminated soils and groundwater: an evaluation.” Engineering Geology, Vol. 60, No. 1–4, (2001), 193–207.
  10. Huang, K., Shen, Y., Wang, X., Song, X., Yuan, W., Xie, J., Wang, S., Bai, J., and Wang, J. “Choline-based deep eutectic solvent combined with EDTA-2Na as novel soil washing agent for lead removal in contaminated soil.” Chemosphere, Vol. 279, (2021), 130568.
  11. Ahn, Y., Pandi, K., Cho, D.-W., and Choi, J. “Feasibility of soil washing agents to remove fluoride and risk assessment of fluoride-contaminated soils.” Journal of Soils and Sediments, Vol. 21, No. 8, (2021), 2770–2777.
  12. Xiao, R., Ali, A., Wang, P., Li, R., Tian, X., and Zhang, Z. “Comparison of the feasibility of different washing solutions for combined soil washing and phytoremediation for the detoxification of cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in contaminated soil.” Chemosphere, Vol. 230, (2019), 510–518.
  13. Kaurin, A., Gluhar, S., Tilikj, N., and Lestan, D. “Soil washing with biodegradable chelating agents and EDTA: Effect on soil properties and plant growth.” Chemosphere, Vol. 260, (2020), 127673.
  14. Mohamadi, S., Saeedi, M., and Mollahosseini, A. “Desorption Kinetics of Heavy Metals (Lead, Zinc, and Nickel) Coexisted with Phenanthrene from a Natural High Buffering Soil.” International Journal of Engineering, Transaction C: Aspects, Vol. 32, No. 12, (2019), 1716–1725.
  15. Chair, K., Bedoui, A., Bensalah, N., Sáez, C., Fernández-Morales, F. J., Cotillas, S., Cañizares, P., and Rodrigo, M. A. “Treatment of Soil-Washing Effluents Polluted with Herbicide Oxyfluorfen by Combined Biosorption–Electrolysis.” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol. 56, No. 8, (2017), 1903–1910.
  16. Satyro, S., Race, M., Marotta, R., Dezotti, M., Guida, M., and Clarizia, L. “Photocatalytic processes assisted by artificial solar light for soil washing effluent treatment.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Vol. 24, No. 7, (2017), 6353–6360.
  17. Wuana, R. A., and Okieimen, F. E. “Heavy Metals in Contaminated Soils: A Review of Sources, Chemistry, Risks and Best Available Strategies for Remediation.” ISRN Ecology, Vol. 2011, (2011), 1–20.
  18. Basta, N. T., and McGowen, S. L. “Evaluation of chemical immobilization treatments for reducing heavy metal transport in a smelter-contaminated soil.” Environmental Pollution, Vol. 127, No. 1, (2004), 73–82.
  19. Abbott, D. E., Essington, M. E., Mullen, M. D., and Ammons, J. T. “Fly Ash and Lime-Stabilized Biosolid Mixtures in Mine Spoil Reclamation: Simulated Weathering.” Journal of Environmental Quality, Vol. 30, No. 2, (2001), 608–616.
  20. Cao, X., Ma, L. Q., and Shiralipour, A. “Effects of compost and phosphate amendments on arsenic mobility in soils and arsenic uptake by the hyperaccumulator, Pteris vittata L.” Environmental Pollution, Vol. 126, No. 2, (2003), 157–167.
  21. Clemente, R., Walker, D. J., Roig, A., and Bernal, M. P. “Heavy metal bioavailability in a soil affected by mineral sulphides contamination following the mine spillage at Aznalcóllar (Spain).” Biodegradation, Vol. 14, No. 3, (2003), 199–205.
  22. Friesl, W., Lombi, E., Horak, O., and Wenzel, W. W. “Immobilization of heavy metals in soils using inorganic amendments in a greenhouse study.” Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Vol. 166, No. 2, (2003), 191–196.
  23. Walker, D. J., Clemente, R., and Bernal, M. P. “Contrasting effects of manure and compost on soil pH, heavy metal availability and growth of Chenopodium album L. in a soil contaminated by pyritic mine waste.” Chemosphere, Vol. 57, No. 3, (2004), 215–224.
  24. Brunori, C., Cremisini, C., Massanisso, P., Pinto, V., and Torricelli, L. “Reuse of a treated red mud bauxite waste: studies on environmental compatibility.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 117, No. 1, (2005), 55–63.
  25. Guo, G., Zhou, Q., and Ma, L. Q. “Availability and Assessment of Fixing Additives for The in Situ Remediation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils: A Review.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 116, No. 1–3, (2006), 513–528.
  26. Kong, X., Ge, R., Liu, T., Xu, S., Hao, P., Zhao, X., Li, Z., Lei, X., and Duan, H. “Super-stable mineralization of cadmium by calcium-aluminum layered double hydroxide and its large-scale application in agriculture soil remediation.” Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 407, (2021), 127178.
  27. Finžgar, N., Kos, B., and Leštan, D. “ Bioavailability and mobility of Pb after soil treatment with different remediation methods.” Plant, Soil and Environment, Vol. 52, No. 1, (2011), 25–34.
  28. Chuon Yi, O., and Chui Peng Cheong, A. Solidification of Industrial Waste Sludge with Incineration Fly Ash and Ordinary Portland Cement. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP, 2002), Nanyang Technological University.
  29. Kogbara, R. B. “A review of the mechanical and leaching performance of stabilized/solidified contaminated soils.” Environmental Reviews, Vol. 22, No. 1, (2014), 66–86.
  30. Martin, T. A., and Ruby, M. V. “Review ofin situ remediation technologies for lead, zinc, and cadmium in soil.” Remediation Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, (2004), 35–53.
  31. Heidari, S., Basiri, H., Nourmoradi, H., Kamareei, B., and Omidi, Y. “Hexadecyl Trimethyl Ammonium Bromide-Modified Montmorillonite as a Low-Cost Sorbent for the Removal of Methyl Red from Liquid-Medium.” International Journal of Engineering, Transaction A: Basics, Vol. 29, No. 1, (2016), 60–67.
  32. Ajemba, R. “Adsorption of Malachite Green from Aqueous Solution using Activated Ntezi Clay: Optimization, Isotherm and Kinetic Studies.” International Journal of Engineering, Transaction C: Aspects, Vol. 27, No. 6, (2014), 839–854.
  33. Wen, D., Fu, R., and Li, Q. “Removal of inorganic contaminants in soil by electrokinetic remediation technologies: A review.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 401, (2021), 123345.
  34. McGowen, S. L., Basta, N. T., and Brown, G. O. “Use of Diammonium Phosphate to Reduce Heavy Metal Solubility and Transport in Smelter-Contaminated Soil.” Journal of Environmental Quality, Vol. 30, No. 2, (2001), 493–500.
  35. Valipour, M., Shahbazi, K., and Khanmirzaei, A. “Chemical Immobilization of Lead, Cadmium, Copper, and Nickel in Contaminated Soils by Phosphate Amendments.” CLEAN - Soil, Air, Water, Vol. 44, No. 5, (2016), 572–578.
  36. Zeng, G., Wan, J., Huang, D., Hu, L., Huang, C., Cheng, M., Xue, W., Gong, X., Wang, R., and Jiang, D. “Precipitation, adsorption and rhizosphere effect: The mechanisms for Phosphate-induced Pb immobilization in soils—A review.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 339, (2017), 354–367.
  37. Sharma, H., and Lewis, S. Waste containment systems, waste stabilization, and landfills: design and evaluation. John Wiley & Sons.
  38. Shackelford, C. D., and Glade, M. J. “Analytical Mass Leaching Model for Contaminated Soil and Soil Stabilized Waste.” Ground Water, Vol. 35, No. 2, (1997), 233–242.
  39. US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Method 3050B. EPA 660 13-75-009, Acid Digestion of Sediments, Sludges and Soils, Washington, D.C., 1996.
  40. World Health Organization. Permissible limits of heavy metals in soil and plants (Geneva: World Health Organization). Geneva, Switzerland, 1996.
  41. ASTM, Standard test method for 24-h batch type measurement of contaminant sorption by soils and sediments, (D 4646-87), Annual book of ASTM Standards, American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, 04.04: 44-47, 1993.
  42. Gitipour, S., Ahmadi, S., Madadian, E., and Ardestani, M. “Soil washing of chromium- and cadmium-contaminated sludge using acids and ethylenediaminetetra acetic acid chelating agent.” Environmental Technology, Vol. 37, No. 1, (2016), 145–151.
  43. Bilgin M, and Tulun S. “Heavy metals (Cu, Cd and Zn) contaminated soil removal by EDTA and FeCl3.” Global NEST Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, (2016), 98–107.
  44. Shi, J., Pang, J., Liu, Q., Luo, Y., Ye, J., Xu, Q., Long, B., Ye, B., and Yuan, X. “Simultaneous removal of multiple heavy metals from soil by washing with citric acid and ferric chloride.” RSC Advances, Vol. 10, No. 13, (2020), 7432–7442.
  45. Sumalatha, J., Naveen, B. P., and Malik, R. K. “Toxic Metals Removal from Industrial Sludge by Using Different Leaching Solutions.” Journal of The Institution of Engineers (India): Series A, Vol. 100, No. 2, (2019), 337–345.
  46. Salihoglu, G. “Immobilization of antimony waste slag by applying geopolymerization and stabilization/solidification technologies.” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Vol. 64, No. 11, (2014), 1288–1298.
  47. Snoeyink, V. L., and Jenkins, D. Water chemistry. Wiley. Retrieved from