Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 157–165

Influence of electrolytes on EDTA extraction of Pb from polluted soil


  • G. A. Brown
    • Agricultural Engineering DepartmentPennsylvania State University
  • H. A. Elliott
    • Agricultural Engineering DepartmentPennsylvania State University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00478458

Cite this article as:
Brown, G.A. & Elliott, H.A. Water Air Soil Pollut (1992) 62: 157. doi:10.1007/BF00478458


Because the economics of soil extraction processes depend on conservation and reuse of costly chelating agents, the ability of various electrolytes to modify EDTA extraction of Pb from a grossly-contaminated soil (PbT=21%) was investigated using batch equilibration experiments. In the absence of added electrolyte, a single 5-hr. extraction with 0.04 M EDTA (corresponding to 1∶1 PbT to EDTA ratio) released 65% of PbT over the pH 5 to 9 range. Under these conditions, Na+-, Li+-, and NH4ClO4 salts at 0.5 M increased Pb desorption to nearly 80%, probably from exchange displacement of soilbound Pb2+ and increased solubility of Pb-containing phases at higher ionic strength. Because Cl and ClO4 salts were equally effective, chlorocomplex formation was insignificant. Under slightly acidic conditions, Ca(ClO4)2 and Mg(ClO4)2 at 0.167 M caused roughly the same elevation in Pb recovery as 0.5M of the monovalent electrolytes. However, with progressively higher pH, Ca, and to a lesser extent Mg, suppressed Pb solubilization by competitive chelation of EDTA. Pb recovery by EDTA soil washing could be enhanced by addition of Ca salts at pH 4 to 6. Subsequent pH elevation in the presence of Ca would promote decomposition of Pb-EDTA complexes and separation of Pb as a hydroxide precipitate.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992