Application of Electrocoagulation and Electrolysis on the Precipitation of Heavy Metals and Particulate Solids in Washwater from the Soil Washing


Soil washing, ex situ mechanical technique, is one of the few permanent treatment alternatives to remove metal contaminants from soils by employing physical separation based on mineral processing technologies to remove discrete particles or metal-bearing particles and/or chemical extraction based on leaching or dissolving process to extract the metals from the soils into an aqueous solution. However, washwater remained from soil washing process contains discrete particulate particles along with heavy metals as solution phase to be treated separately, as well as this process can produce large amount of sludge that requires further treatment, slow metal precipitation, poor settling, the aggregation of metal precipitates. Electrical treatments including electrocoagulation and electrolysis can be effective in removing these substances from washwater. This paper reviews the theoretical models in applying electrocoagulation and electrolysis to remove heavy metals and discrete particulate particles in washwater by examining and comparing the status of washwater treatment technologies which have been undertaken, mostly in the US and EU for the period 1990-2012.

Share and Cite:

Shim, H. , Lee, K. , Lee, D. , Jeon, D. , Park, M. , Shin, J. , Lee, Y. , Goo, J. , Kim, S. and Chung, D. (2014) Application of Electrocoagulation and Electrolysis on the Precipitation of Heavy Metals and Particulate Solids in Washwater from the Soil Washing. Journal of Agricultural Chemistry and Environment, 3, 130-138. doi: 10.4236/jacen.2014.34015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Babel, S. and Kurniawan, T.A. (2004) Cr(VI) Removal from Synthetic Wastewater Using Coconut Shell Charcoal and Commercial Activated Carbon Modified with Oxidizing Agents and/or Chitosan. Chemosphere, 54, 951-967.
[2] USEPA (1996) A Citizen’s Guide to Soil Washing. EPA/EPA 542-F-96-002.
[3] USEPA (1995) Contaminants and Remedial Options at Selected Metal-Contaminated Sites. EPA/540/R-95/512, Office of Research and Development, Washington DC.
[4] Williford, C.W. and Bricka, R.M. (2000) Physical Separation of Metal-Contaminated Soils. In: Iskandar, I.K., Ed., Environmental Restoration of Metals-Contaminated Soils, CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, 121-165.
[5] Dermont, G., Bergeron, M., Mercier, G., Richer and Lafleche, M. (2008) Soil Washing for Metal Removal: A Review of Physical/Chemical Technologies and Field Applications. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 152, 1-31.
[6] Barakat, M.A. (2011) New Trends in Removing Heavy Metals from Industrial Wastewater. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 4, 361-377.
[7] USEPA (1980) Control and Treatment Technology for the Metal Finishing Industry: Sulfide Precipitation. EPA/625/ 8-80/003.
[8] Fu, F.L. and Wang, Q. (2011) Removal of Heavy Metal Ions from Wastewaters: A Review. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 407-418.
[9] Ku, Y. and Jung, I.-L. (2001) Photocatalytic Reduction of Cr(VI) in Aqueous Solutions by UV Irradiation with the Presence of Titanium Dioxide. Water Research, 35, 135-142.
[10] USEPA (1990) Innovative and Alternative Technology Assessment Manual, EPA, Office of Water Program Operations. EPA/430/9-78/009.
[11] Wang, L.K., Vaccari, D.A., Li, Y. and Shammas, N.K. (2004) Chemical Precipitation. In: Wang, L.K., Hung, Y.T. and Shammas, N.K., Eds., Physicochemical Treatment Processes, Vol. 3, Humana Press, New Jersey, 141-198.
[12] Kongsricharoern, N. and Polprasert, C. (1995) Electrochemical Precipitation of Chromium (Cr6+) from an Electroplating Wastewater. Water Science and Technology, 31, 109-117.
[13] Haas, C.N. and Vamos, R.J. (1995) Hazardous and Industrial Waste Treatment. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 147- 152.
[14] Sundstrom, D.W. and Klei, H.E. (1979) Wastewater Treatment. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 327-330.
[15] Wentz, C.W. (1995) Hazardous Waste Management. 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 155-157.
[16] López-Maldonado, E.A., Oropeza-Guzman, M.T., Jurado-Baizaval, J.L. and Ochoa-Terán, A. (2014) Coagulation- Flocculation Mechanisms in Wastewater Treatment Plants through Zeta Potential Measurements. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 279, 1-10.
[17] Benefield, L.D. Judkins, J.F. and Weand, B.L. (1982) Process Chemistry for Water and Wastewater Treatment. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 212.
[18] Firdaus, M.Y. (2013) Coagulation and Flocculation Process Fundamentals.
[19] Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (1998) Remediation Case Studies: Innovative Groundwater Treatment Technologies. EPA/542/R-98/015.
[20] Tripathy, T. and De, B.R. (2006) Flocculation: A New Way to Treat the Waste Water. Journal of Physical Sciences, 10, 93-127.
[21] Chen, B., Qu, R., Shi, J., Li, D., Wei, Z., Yang, X. and Wang, Z. (2012) Heavy Metal and Phos-Phorus Removal from Water by Optimizing Use of Calcium Hydroxide and Risk Assessment. Environmental Pollution, 1, 38-54.
[22] Atkins, P. and De Paula, J. (2013) Physical Chemistry. 9th Edition, Oxford, 865-869.
[23] Hale, A.J. (2010) The Applications of Electrolysis in Chemical Industry. General Books LLC, New York.
[24] Rajeshwar, K. and Ibanez, J. (1997) Environmental Electrochemistry Fundamentals and Applications in Pollution Abatement. Academic Press, London.
[25] Mollah, M.Y.A., Schennach, R., Parga, J.R. and Cocke, D.L. (2001) Electrocoagulation (EC)—Science and Applications. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 84, 29-41.
[26] Holt, P., Barton, G., Wark, M. and Mitchell, C. (2002) A Quantitative Comparison between Chemical Dosing and Electrocoagulation. Colloids Surf A, 211, 233-248.
[27] Holt, P., Barton, G. and Mitchell, C. (2005) The Future for Electrocoagulation as a Localized Water Treatment Technology. Chemosphere, 59, 355-367.
[28] Canizares, P., Martinez, F., Rodrigo, M., Jimenez, C. and Saez, C. (2008) Modeling of Wastewater Electrocoagulation Processes Part I. General Description and Application to Kaolin-Polluted Wastewaters. Separation and Purification Technology, 60, 155-161.
[29] Lodhi, A.G. (2013) Zeta Potential.
[30] Lyklema, J. (1995) Fundamentals of Interface and Colloid Science. Vol. 2, Academic Press, London.
[31] Hanaor, D.A.H., Michelazzi, M., Leonelli, C. and Sorrell, C.C. (2012) The Effects of Carboxylic Acids on the Aqueous Dispersion and Electrophoretic Deposition of ZrO2. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 32, 235-244.
[32] Greenwood, R. and Kendall, K. (1999) Selection of Suitable Dispersants for Aqueous Suspensions of Zirconia and Titania Powders Using Acoustophoresis. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 19, 479-488.
[33] Kaya, A. and Yukselen, Y. (2005) Zeta Potential of Clay Minerals and Quartz Contaminated by Heavy Metals. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 42, 1280-1289.
[34] Gesser, H.D. (2002) Applied Chemistry. Springer, Berlin, 16-55.
[35] Elsayed, E.M., Zewail, T.M. and Zaatout, A.A. (2013) Particulate Solids Removal from Synthetic and Real Turbid Water and Wastewater by Electro Coagulation Using Vertical Expanded Al Anode. Journal of Chemical Engineering Process Technology, 4, 177-183.
[36] Rahmani, A. (2008) Removal of Water Turbidity by the Electrocoagulation Method. Journal of Research in Health Science, 8, 18-24.
[37] Kilic, M. and Hosten, C. (2010) A Comparative Study of Electrocoagulation and Coagulation of Aqueous Suspensions of Kaolinite Powders. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 176, 735-740.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.