Electrokinetic remediation of six emerging organic contaminants from soil

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Some organic contaminants can accumulate in organisms and cause irreversible damages in biological systems through direct or indirect toxic effects. In this study the feasibility of the electrokinetic (EK) process for the remediation of 17β-oestradiol (E2), 17α-ethinyloestradiol (EE2), bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol (NP), octylphenol (OP) and triclosan (TCS) in soils was studied in a stationary laboratory cell. The experiments were conducted using a silty loam soil (S2) at 0, 10 and 20mA and a sandy soil (S3) at 0 and 10mA. A pH control in the anolyte reservoir (pH>13) at 10mA was carried out using S2, too. Photo and electrodegradation experiments were also fulfilled. Results showed that EK is a viable method for the remediation of these contaminants, both through mobilization by electroosmotic flow (EOF) and electrodegradation. As EOF is very sensible to soil pH, the control in the anolyte increased EOF rate, consequently enhancing contaminants mobilization towards the cathode end. The extent of the mobilization towards the electrode end was mainly dependent on compounds solubility and octanol-water partition coefficient. In the last 24h of experiments, BPA presented the highest mobilization rate (ca. 4μgmin-1) with NP not being detected in the catholyte. At the end of all experiments the percentage of contaminants that remained in the soil ranged between 17 and 50 for S2, and between 27 and 48 for S3, with no statistical differences between treatments. The mass balance performed showed that the amount of contaminant not detected in the cell is similar to the quantity that potentially may suffer photo and electrodegradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Electrodegradation
  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Electroosmotic flow
  • Organic contaminants
  • Soil


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