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    Electrokinetic Removal of Phenanthrene from Kaolin Using Different Surfactants and Cosolvents

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    In this study, an experimental program was conducted to determine electrokinetic remedial efficiency of PAHs in low permeability soils. Kaolin was selected as a representative low permeability soil, and phenanthrene was selected as a representative PAH. Several surfactants/cosolvents were evaluated to enhance desorption/solubilization of PAHs in soils, and bench-scale electrokinetic experiments were performed to investigate the enhanced removal of PAHs using surfactants/cosolvents. Electric current, cumulative electroosmotic flow, and cumulative contaminant mass removal were measured during the application of electric potential, and pH and residual contaminant concentration in the soil were measured after electrokinetic treatment. The results showed that the extent of contaminant desorption/solubilzation as well as the amount of electroosmotic flow both affected PAH removal efficiency. Furthermore, significantly different results were obtained due to the chemical and electrical characteristics of the surfactants/cosolvents. Generally, electroosmotic flow behaved according to Helmholz-Smoluchowski (H-S) theory and advective transport of the contaminant occurred from the anode towards the cathode. Electrokinetic treatment caused slightly acidic conditions throughout the soil because of the electrolysis reaction at the anode and the electroosmotic flow towards the cathode. Although contaminant mass removal was low in all the tests, the results showed significant PAH migration towards the cathode. Reaction kinetics or a change in solution and/or surface chemistry under electric potential, however, seems to have caused sorption or precipitation of the contaminant to the soil and hindered complete PAH removal from the soil. Thus, further evaluation needs to be performed to determine the cause of low contaminant removal, but enhanced electrokinetic remediation appears to be a promising technique for the removal of PAHs from low permeability soils.


    electrokinetics, electrokinetic remediation, low-permeability soils, clays, organics, surfactants, cosolvents, PAHs, phenanthrene, remediation

    Author Information:

    Reddy, KR
    Associate Professor and Graduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

    Saichek, RE
    Associate Professor and Graduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP10624S