Surfactant-Enhanced Washing of Soils Contaminated with Wasted-Automotive Oils and the Quality of the Produced Wastewater


An old automotive industrial site located at Mexico City with many years of operation and contaminated with heavy oil hydrocarbons, particularly spent oils, was assessed for restoration using the surfactant enhanced soil washing (SESW) process. The main goal of this study was to characterize the contaminated soil in terms of TPHs, BTEX, PAHs, and metals contents as well as microbiologically (total heterotrophs and specific degrading microorganisms). We also aimed to determine the surfactant type and concentration to be used in the SESW process for the automotive waste oil contaminated soil. At the end, sixteen kg of contaminated soil were washed and the produced wastewater (approximately 40 L) was characterized in terms of COD, BOD; solids, and other physico-chemical parameters. The soil contained about 14,000 mg of TPH/kg soil (heavy fraction), 0.13 mg/kg of benzo (k) fluoranthene and 0.07 mg/kg of benzo (a) pyrene as well as traces of some metals. Metals concentrations were always under the maximum concentration levels suggested by Mexican regulations. 15 different surfactants were used to identify the one with the capability to achieve the highest TPH removal. Surfactants included 5 anionics, 2 zwitterionic, 5 nonionics and 3 natural gums. Sulfopon 30 at a concentration of 0.5% offered the best surfactant performance. The TPH removals employing the different surfactants were in the range from 38% to 68%, in comparison to the soil washing with water (10% of TPH removal). Once the surfactant was selected, 70 kg of soil were washed and the resulting water contained approximately 1300 mg/L of COD, 385 mg/L of BOD (BOD/COD = 0.29), 122 mg/L of MBAS, and 212 mg/L of oil and greases, among other contaminants.

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M. Zacarias-Salinas, M. Vaca, M. Flores, E. Bandala and L. Torres, "Surfactant-Enhanced Washing of Soils Contaminated with Wasted-Automotive Oils and the Quality of the Produced Wastewater," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 12, 2013, pp. 1495-1501. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.412171.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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