Removal of Contaminants from Soils by Electric Fields

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Science  23 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5107, pp. 498-503
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5107.498


Application of a direct-current electric field in soils that contain contaminated liquid is expected to produce an important in situ means of environmental restoration. The electric field induces a motion of the liquid and dissolved ions that transports the contaminant to wells for removal. Electrode chemistry plays an important role, and reagents can be introduced at the electrodes to enhance contaminant removal rates. Experiments and modeling demonstrate high degrees of contaminant removal, propagation of sharp acid and base wave fronts from the electrodes, and a "focusing" effect by which metals accumulate in regions of the soil.

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