The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Electrokinetic Remediation - Disadvantages



Electrokinetic Remediation could prove to be a time consuming process. Buried metal objects may prove to be a big challenge to this type of remediation since the current flow would get diverted. Another limitation to using electrokinetic remediation would arise if large amounts of non-targeted contaminants are present. For example, if the targeted chromate concentration is 0.0001% only in the soil whereas the chloride ions (if sea water was present in the site) are present in higher percentages, then the current would be carried by the chloride (due to the sodium chloride in sea water), removing the chloride ions preferentially from the soil and not the chromate ions.

The electrolysis reactions near the electrodes change the soil pH. Acidic conditions near anode will cause decay and degradation of the electrolyte. There could be stagnant zones between electrodes where the migration is very slow (Sharma and Reddy., 2004). In case any VOCs are present they would increase the soil vapor concentration during remediation. A study of electrokinetic remediation applied to diesel contaminated soils was conducted. This study showed that a month after remediation the pH of soil near anode was very low about 3.5 and was very high near cathode with a value of 10.8 (Kim et al., 2010). This seemed to have an adverse effect on the microbial community in the soils though the soil was remediated. 


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