Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 109, Issue 1–4, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Removal of Heavy Metals from Calcareous Contaminated Soils by EDTA Leaching

  • N. Papassiopi
  • S. Tambouris
  • A. Kontopoulos


The performance of EDTA for the treatment of calcareous soils contaminated with heavy metals from mining and smelting activities was evaluated in this study. Soil samples containing variable levels of contamination, from 500 to 35 000 mg kg-1 Pb and 700 to 20 000 mg kg-1 Zn, were subjected to EDTA treatment and the extraction of heavy metals was found to vary, ranging between 50 and 98% for Pb and 50 to 100% for Zn. Total residual concentrations were above the limits set by regulatory authorities; leachable metals, however, were efficiently removed and treated soils were all acceptable in terms of toxicity. The effect of EDTA concentration and pulp density was studied on a soil sample containing 12 000 mg kg-1 Pb and 10 000 mg kg-1 Zn. Heavy metals removal was improved at low pulp densities and when EDTA concentration was increased from 0.025 to 0.25 M. The tetrasodium salt Na4-EDTA was found to be less effective for metals removal compared to the disodium salt Na2-EDTA, though applied at higher concentrations. This experimental work has also demonstrated the great importance of soil matrix for the overall evaluation of the EDTA leaching as a cost effective remedial option. The simultaneous dissolution of calcite was found to consume approximately 90% of the available EDTA. It was thus concluded that for the treatment of calcareous soils the design criteria and cost estimations should be based on the calcite content of the soil.

EDTA heavy metals leaching lead soil remediation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allison, J. D., Brown, D. S. and Gradac-Novo, J. K.: 1991, Minteqa2/Prodefa2. A Geochemical Assessment Model for Environmental Systems, Version 3.Google Scholar
  2. Boskos, E.: 1995, Mineralogical Analyses of Soils and Wastes in Lavrion, NTUA, Athens.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, G. A. and Elliott, H. A.: 1992, Water, Air, and Soil Pollut. 62, 157.Google Scholar
  4. Elliott, H. A. and Brown, G. A.: 1989a, Water, Air, and Soil Pollut. 45, 361.Google Scholar
  5. Elliott, H. A., Linn, J. H. and Shields, G. A.: 1989b, Hazard. Wastes Hazard. Mat. 6, 223.Google Scholar
  6. Elliott, H. A., Brown, G. A., Shields, G. A. and Linn, J. H.: 1989c, Seventh Internat. Conf. on Heavy Metals in the Environ., J. P. Vernet (ed.), Geneva, Switzerland, II, 64.Google Scholar
  7. Evans, L. J.: 1989, Environ. Sci. Tech. 23, 1047.Google Scholar
  8. Jenkins, R. L., Scheybeler, B. J., Smith, M. L., Baird, R., Lo, M. P. and Haug, R. T.: 1981, Journal WPCF 53, 25.Google Scholar
  9. Kontopoulos, A., Komnitsas, K., Xenidis, A. and Papassiopi, N.: 1995, Minerals Engineering 8, 1209.Google Scholar
  10. Kontopoulos, A., Papassiopi, N., Komnitsas, K. and Xenidis, A.: 1996, Protection and Rehabilitation of the Environment III, Chania, Greece, August 28–30, II, 484.Google Scholar
  11. Papassiopi, N., Xenidis, A., Komnitsas, K. and Kontopoulos, A.: 1996, Fourth International Conference on Environmental Issues and Waste Management in Energy and Minerals Production, Cagliari, Italy, October 7–11.Google Scholar
  12. Peters, R. W. and Shem, L.: 1992, Environmental Remediation, Ed. ACS Symposium Series, 70.Google Scholar
  13. Roger Hart, J.: 1987, Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, A10, 95.Google Scholar
  14. Sobec, A. A., Schuller, W. A, Freeman, J. R. and Smith, R. M.: 1987, US EPA Report 600/2-78-054, 203.Google Scholar
  15. U.S. EPA: 1986, Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), Federal Register 51, 114.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Papassiopi
    • 1
  • S. Tambouris
    • 1
  • A. Kontopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of MetallurgyNational Technical University of AthensZografosGreece

Personalised recommendations