Remediation of lead contaminated soil by EDTA. I. Batch and column studies

D. M. Heil, Z. Samani, A. T. Hanson, B. Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Extraction using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and other chelates has been demonstrated to be an effective method of removal of Pb from many contaminated soils. However, column leaching of Pb from alkaline soils with EDTA has been problematic due to extremely low soil permeability. The first purpose of this study was to develop batch extraction procedures and methods of analysis of batch extraction data to provide Pb solubility information which can be used to model the column extraction of Pb from soils. The second purpose was to determine the effect of the addition of KOH and CaCl2 to K2H2EDTA extract solution on both hydraulic conductivity and Pb removal. A Pb-contaminated soil sample was collected from an abandoned battery recycling facility. Both batch shaker extractions and column leaching experiments were completed using 5 different EDTA extract solutions. When only CaCl2 was added to EDTA no change in the amount of Pb removed by batch extraction was observed. As expected, lead solubility was observed to decrease as pH was increased by the addition of KOH. However, Pb solubility was only slightly decreased by the addition of both CaCl2 and KOH. The amount of time required to leach 6.0 L of extraction solution through the soil columns varied from 2 to 33 days. The addition of CaCl2 and/or KOH resulted in increased soil hydraulic conductivity relative to the EDTA-only solution. The hydraulic conductivity was related to residual calcium carbonate content, suggesting that dissolution of CaCO3 and subsequent production of CO2 gas in the soil pores was partially responsible for the observed reductions in soil permeability. However, Pb removal was diminished with the addition of CaCl2 and KOH because of the decreased Pb solubility and also kinetic limitations associated with the shorter residence time of the extract solution in the column.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Extraction
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Lead
  • Soil

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