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Coupling Bioleaching and Electrokinetics to Remediate Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils

Huang, Qingyun, Yu, Zhen, Pang, Ya, Wang, Yueqiang, Cai, Zhihong
Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 2015 v.94 no.4 pp. 519-524
chromium, copper, heavy metals, lead, polluted soils, solubilization, zinc
In this study, bioleaching was coupled with electrokinetics (BE) to remove heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Cr and Pb) from contaminated soil. For comparison, bioleaching (BL), electrokinetics (EK), and the chemical extraction method were also applied alone to remove the metals. The results showed that the BE method removed more heavy metals from the contaminated soil than the BL method or the EK method alone. The BE method was able to achieve metal solubilization rates of more than 70 % for Cu, Zn and Cr and of more than 40 % for Pb. Within the range of low current densities (<1 mA cm⁻²), higher current density led to more metal removal. However, the metal solubilization rates did not increase with increasing current density when the current density was higher than 1 mA cm⁻². Therefore, it is suggested that bioleaching coupled with electrokinetics can effectively remediate heavy metal-contaminated soils and that preliminary tests should be conducted before field operation to detect the lowest current density for the greatest metal removal.