Applicability of an anionic-nonionic surfactant in p-cresol contaminated soil washing: Finding the optimal mixing ratio


In this study, the parameters influencing p-cresol removal efficiency in soil washing method were investigated. Primarily, extraction efficiencies of three Tween series surfactants (Tween 20, Tween 60, Tween 80) with 10 mM concentration were compared. Tween 80 showed the best results since its value (55%) was 4% and 13% higher than that of Tween 60 and Tween 20. The impact of mixed surfactant on extraction rate was examined by employing a mixture of Tween 80 and one anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate) with different molar ratio as the main washing solution. The results denoted that the molar ratio of 3:2 (SDS:Tween80) could enhance the extraction rate up to 38% compared to using SDS and Tween 80 alone. Regarding the initial p-cresol concentration in the collected sample, the cleanup level (390 mg/kg) could only be achieved using the mixed-surfactant. Thus, the minimum required surfactant concentrations to hit the target level was calculated to be 3.54 g/L of Tween 80 and 2.105 g/L of SDS (molar ratio of 0.27 SDS:Tween80). Studying the role of surfactant concentration indicated that its increment from 10 mM to 20 mM, which is way above all the reagents’ critical micelle concentration (CMC), does not affect the removal rate considerably. The same results were obtained comparing the effect of washing time in three different levels (30 min, 60 min and 90 min). However, temperature showed to be a more significant parameter as it could enhance the results up to 20% (for SDS).

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This research is partially funded by University of Tehran.

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Conceptualization, S.G. and P.Y.; Methodology, S.G. and P.Y.; Validation, S.G., P.Y. and A.M.; Formal Analysis, A.M.; Investigation, P.Y. and M.A.; Resources, P.Y.; Data Curation, A.M.; Writing – Original Draft Preparation, A.M.; Writing – Review & Editing, A.M., M.A. and R.M.D.; Visualization, A.M.; Supervision, S.G.; Project Administration, M.A., R.M.D. and M.R.; Funding Acquisition, R.M.D. and M.R. All Authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ali Mohebban.

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Mohebban, A., Yaghoobzadeh, P., Gitipour, S. et al. Applicability of an anionic-nonionic surfactant in p-cresol contaminated soil washing: Finding the optimal mixing ratio. J Environ Health Sci Engineer (2020).

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  • Surfactant-Enhanced Remediation
  • Mixed surfactant
  • Extraction efficiency
  • P-cresol
  • Soil contamination