Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 8124–8147 | Cite as

In situ remediation technologies for mercury-contaminated soil

  • Feng HeEmail author
  • Jie Gao
  • Eric Pierce
  • P. J. Strong
  • Hailong Wang
  • Liyuan Liang
Review Article


Mercury from anthropogenic activities is a pollutant that poses significant risks to humans and the environment. In soils, mercury remediation can be technically challenging and costly, depending on the subsurface mercury distribution, the types of mercury species, and the regulatory requirements. This paper introduces the chemistry of mercury and its implications for in situ mercury remediation, which is followed by a detailed discussion of several in situ Hg remediation technologies in terms of applicability, cost, advantages, and disadvantages. The effect of Hg speciation on remediation performance, as well as Hg transformation during different remediation processes, was detailed. Thermal desorption, electrokinetic, and soil flushing/washing treatments are removal technologies that mobilize and capture insoluble Hg species, while containment, solidification/stabilization, and vitrification immobilize Hg by converting it to less soluble forms. Two emerging technologies, phytoremediation and nanotechnology, are also discussed in this review.


Mercury Soil contamination In situ remediation Immobilization Stabilization 



This research was supported by the Office of Groundwater and Soil Remediation, Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the Applied Field Research Initiative (AFRI) Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is managed by UT-Battelle LLC for the DOE under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feng He
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jie Gao
    • 2
  • Eric Pierce
    • 2
  • P. J. Strong
    • 3
  • Hailong Wang
    • 4
  • Liyuan Liang
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Biological and Environmental EngineeringZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Solid Waste Bioprocessing, Schools of Civil and Chemical EngineeringThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  4. 4.School of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang A&F UniversityLin’anChina

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