Environmental technology

Chelant soil-washing technology for metal-contaminated soil.

PMID 24701937


We demonstrate here, in a pilot-scale experiment, the feasibility of ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA)based washing technology for soils contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Acid precipitation coupled to initial alkaline toxic metal removal and an electrochemical advanced oxidation process were used for average recovery of 76 +/- 2% of EDTA per batch and total recycle of water in a closed process loop. No waste water was generated; solid wastes were efficiently bitumen-stabilized before disposal. The technology embodiment, using conventional process equipment, such as a mixer for soil extraction, screen for soil/gravel separation, filter chamber presses for soil/liquid and recycled EDTA separation and soil rinsing, continuous centrifuge separator for removal of precipitated metals and electrolytic cells for process water cleansing, removed up to 72%, 25% and 66% of Pb, Zn and Cd from garden soil contaminated with up to 6960, 3797 and 32.6 mg kg(-1) of Pb, Zn and Cd, respectively, in nine 60kg soil batches. Concentrations of Pb and Zn remaining in the remediated soil and bioaccessible from the simulated human intestinal phase soil were reduced by 97% and 96% and were brought under the level of determination for Cd. In the most cost-effective operation mode, the material and energy costs of remediation amounted to 50.5 Euros ton(-1) soil and the total cost to 299 Euros ton(-1).