Remediation of contaminated soil by a solvent/surfactant system

Wei Chu, C. Y. Kwan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates a new approach using a solvent/surfactant-aided soil-washing process to improve the performance of conventional surfactant-aided soil remediation. Three surfactants (Brij 35, Tween 80, and SDS) and three organic solvents (acetone, triethylamine, and squalane) were used to evaluate the desorption performances of 4,4′-dichlorobiphenyl (DCB) out of three soils with different sorption characteristics. The performance improvement is likely due to better dissolution of the hydrophobic contaminants from the soil assisted by the solvent, and the formation of solvent-incorporated surfactant micelles, which increases both the size (i.e. capacity) and affinity of micelles for more effective contaminant extraction. The focof soils were found to be important in determining the performance of a solvent/surfactant-aided soil-washing process. Judging from the experimental data and as verified by the two constants in the proposed soil-washing model, as the organic solvent is coexisting with the surfactant micelles, both the marginal soil-washing performance (right after the use of a very small amount of solvent compared to that of none) and the final soil-washing capacity are increased compared to those of a pure surfactant-aided washing process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003


  • PCB
  • Remediation
  • Soil-washing
  • Solvent
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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