Agricultural Research

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Enhanced Techniques of Soil Washing for the Remediation of Heavy Metal-Contaminated Soils

  • Xu Yang
  • Xinyu Mao
  • Xiaohou Shao
  • Fengxiang Han
  • Tingting Chang
  • Hengji Qin
  • Minhui Li


Soil washing has been developed as one of the ex situ traditional remediation methods for heavy metal polluted soils. It has been found to be effective in metal extraction. However, due to the distribution and speciation in soils, most metal(loid)s are present in less mobile forms which limit the washing efficiency. Therefore, methods are studied to enhance the washing performance by increasing the metals solubility and availability. This paper introduces some currently used methods and technologies, including the optimization of washing variables, lowering soil pH, application of assisted amendments and integration of electro-kinetic remediation and ultrasonication to enhance the removal of metals. In addition, it also suggests some further studies.


Soil washing Metals solubility Assisted technologies 



This work was financially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2014B04814, 2015B05814, 2016B04314), Special Fund for Hydro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201301017), Jiangsu Scientific Research Innovation Program of Ordinary Higher Education Graduate (SJZZ16_0083), Postgraduate Research and Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (SJCX17_0129), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2017B755X14).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Andrade MD, Prasher SO, Hendershot WH (2007) Optimizing the molarity of a EDTA washing solution for saturated-soil remediation of trace metal contaminated soils. Environ Pollut 147:781–790CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bi R, Schlaak M, Siefert E, Lord R, Connolly H (2011) Influence of electrical fields (AC and DC) on phytoremediation of metal polluted soils with rapeseed (Brassica napus) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Chemosphere 83:318–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bolan N, Kunhikrishnan A, Thangarajan R, Kumpiene J, Park J, Makino T, Kirkham MB, Scheckel K (2014) Remediation of heavy metal(loid)s contaminated soils—to mobilize or to immobilize? J Hazard Mater 266:141–166CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chigbo C, Batty L (2013) Effect of EDTA and citric acid on phytoremediation of Cr–B[a]P-co-contaminated soil. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20(12):8955–8963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chung HI, Kamon M (2005) Ultrasonically enhanced electrokinetic remediation for removal of Pb and phenanthrene in contaminated soils. Eng Geol 77:233–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dermont G, Bergeron M, Mercier G, Lafleche MR (2008) Soil washing for metal removal: a review of physical/chemical technologies and field applications. J Hazard Mater 152:1–31CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ebrahimi M (2014) Effect of EDTA and DTPA on phytoremediation of Pb–Zn contaminated soils by Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh and effect on treatment time. Desert 19(1):65–73Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Egli T (1988) An aerobic breakdown of chelating agents used in household deter-gents. Microbiol Sci 5:36–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Engelhart DP, Wagner RJV, Meling A, Wodtke AM, Schäfer T (2015) Temperature programmed desorption of weakly bound adsorbates on Au(111). Surf Sci 650:11–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Han FX, Banin A (1997) Long-term transformations and redistribution of potentially toxic heavy metals in arid-zone soils. I: under saturated conditions. Water Air Soil Pollut 95:399–423Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Han FX, Kingery WL, Selim HM, Gerald P (2000) Accumulation of heavy metals in a long-term poultry waste-amended soil. Soil Sci 165:260–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Han FX, Kingery WL, Selim HM, Gerard PD, Cox MS, Oldham JL (2004) Arsenic solubility and distribution in poultry waste and long-term amended soil. Sci Total Environ 320:51–61CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hea E, Im J, Yang K, Kim Y, Nam K (2015) Changes in soil toxicity by phosphate-aided soil washing: effect of soil characteristics, chemical forms of arsenic, and cations in washing solutions. Chemosphere 119:1399–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Houben D, Evrard L, Sonnet P (2013) Beneficial effects of biochar application to contaminated soils on the bioavailability of Cd, Pb and Zn and the biomass production of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). Biomass Bioenerg 57:196–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kim C, Ong SK (1999) Recycling of lead-contaminated EDTA wastewater. J Hazard Mater 69:273–286CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kim DH, Jeon CS, Baek K, Ko SH, Yang JS (2008) Electrokinetic remediation of fluorine-contaminated soil: conditioning of anolyte. J Hazard Mater 161:565–569CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kirpichtchikova TA, Manceau A, Spadini L, Panfili F, Marcus MA, Jacquet T (2006) Speciation and solubility of heavy metals in contaminated soil using X-ray micro-fluorescence, EXAFS spectroscopy, chemical extraction, and thermodynamic modeling. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 70:2163–2190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ko I, Chang YY, Lee CH, Kim KW (2005) Assessment of pilot-scale acid washing of soil contaminated with As, Zn and Ni using the BCR three-step sequential extraction. J Hazard Mater 127:1–13CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lasat MM (2002) Phytoextraction of toxic metals: a review of biological mechanisms. J Environ Qual 31(1):109–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lee M, Paik IS, Do W, Kim I, Lee Y, Lee S (2007) Soil washing of As contaminated stream sediments in the vicinity of an abandoned mine in Korea. Environ Geochem Heal 29:319–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lestan D, Luo CL, Li XD (2008) The use of chelating agents in the remediation of metal-contaminated soils: a review. Environ Pollut 153:3–13CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lim TT, Tay JH, Wang JY (2004) Chelating-agent-enhanced heavy metal extraction from a contaminated acidic soil. J Environ Eng 130:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Liphadzi MS, Kirkham MB, Paulsen GM (2006) Auxin-enhanced root growth for phytoremediation of sewage-sludge amended soil. Environ Technol 27(6):695–704CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Li RS, Li LY (2000) Enhancement of electrokinetic extraction from lead-spiked soils. J Environ Eng 126:849–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mao XY, Han FX, Shao XH, Guo K, McComb J, Njemanze S (2015) Electro-kinetic enhanced phytoremediation for the restoration of multi-metal(loid) contaminated soils. In: Daniels JA (ed) Advances in environmental research. Nova Science Publishers Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mao XY, Han FX, Shao XH, Guo K, McComb J, Arslan Z, Zhang ZY (2015) Electro-kinetic remediation coupled with phytoremediation to remove lead, arsenic and cesium from contaminated paddy soil. Ecotox Environ Safe 125:16–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mason TJ, Collings A, Sumel A (2004) Sonic and ultrasonic removal of chemical contaminants from soil in the laboratory and on a large scale. Ultrason Sonochem 11:205–210CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Maturi K, Reddy KR (2008) Extraction of mixed contaminants from different soil types. Soil Sediment Contam 17:586–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Moreno-Jiménez E, Clemente R, Mestrot A, Meharg AA (2012) Arsenic and selenium mobilization from organic matter treated mine spoil with and without inorganic fertilization. Environ Pollut 173C(1):238–244Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ottosen LM, Pedersen AJ, Hansen HK, Ribeiro AB (2007) Screening the possibility for removing cadmium and other heavy metals from wastewater sludge and bio-ashes by an electrodialytic method. Electrochim Acta 52(10):3420–3426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Peters RW (1999) Chelant extraction of heavy metals from contaminated soils. J Hazard Mater 66:151–210CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Polettini A, Pomi R, Rolle E (2007) The effect of operating variables on chelant assisted remediation of contaminated dredged sediment. Chemosphere 66:866–877CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Shen Z, Chen X, Jia J, Qu L, Wang W (2007) Comparison of electrokinetic soil remediation methods using one fixed anode and approaching anodes. Environ Pollut 150:193–199CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shen Z, Zhang J, Qu L, Dong Z, Zheng S, Wang W (2009) A modified EK method with an I/I2 lixiviant assisted and approaching cathodes to remedy mercury contaminated field soils. Environ Geol 57(6):1399–1407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shrestha RA, Pham TD, Sillanpaa M (2010) Electro ultrasonic remediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from contaminated soil. J Appl Electrochem 40:1407–1413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sun B, Zhao FJ, Lombi E, McGrath SP (2001) Leaching of heavy metals from contaminated soils using EDTA. Environ Pollut 113:111–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Tessier A, Campbell PGC, Bisson M (1979) Sequential extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Anal Chem 51:844–851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Wu LH, Li Z, Akahane I, Liu L, Han CL, Makino TYK, Luo YM, Christie P (2012) Effects of organic amendments on Cd, Zn and Cu bioavailability in soil with repeated phytoremediation by sedum plumbizincicola. Int J Phytoremediat 14(10):1024–1038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Yeung AT, Gu YY (2011) A review on techniques to enhance electrochemical remediation of contaminated soils. J Hazard Mater 195:11–29CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Yeung AT, Gu YY (2012) Use of chelating agents in electrochemical remediation of contaminated soil. In: Daniel C, Tsang W, Irene M, Lo C, Surampalli RY (eds) Chelating agents for land decontamination technologies. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, pp 212–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Yin X, Chen JJ, Cai WM (2014) Evaluation of compounding EDTA and citric acid on remediation of heavy metals contaminated soil. Environ Sci 35(8):3096–3101Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Yu J, Yu YC, Fang L, Shu HL (2005) Effects of low molecular weight organic acids on the pH and the form of alum inum of forest soils. J Fujian Coll For 25(3):243–246Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Zhang W, Huang H, Tan F, Wang H, Qiu R (2010) Influence of EDTA washing on the species and mobility of heavy metals residual in soils. J Hazard Mater 173:369–376CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Zou Z, Qiu R, Zhang W, Dong HY, Zhao ZH, Zhang T, Wei XG, Cai XD (2009) The study of operating variables in soil washing with EDTA. Environ Pollut 157:229–236CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© NAAS (National Academy of Agricultural Sciences) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu Yang
    • 1
  • Xinyu Mao
    • 1
  • Xiaohou Shao
    • 1
  • Fengxiang Han
    • 2
  • Tingting Chang
    • 1
  • Hengji Qin
    • 1
  • Minhui Li
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryJackson State UniversityJacksonUSA

Personalised recommendations