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Simultaneous removal of toxic metals and PAHs from real contaminated sediments using electrokinetic technique

Chachladakis Ioannis

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Year 2014
Type of Item Doctoral Dissertation
Bibliographic Citation Ioannis Chachladakis, "Simultaneous removal of toxic metals and PAHs from real contaminated sediments using electrokinetic technique", Doctoral Dissertation, School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece, 2014
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The present PhD thesis focused on investigating the simultaneous removal of toxic metals and PAHs from contaminated sediments by the use of electrokinetic technique. This electroremediation technique was applied in real, unaltered contaminated surficial sediments, with grain size just below 2 mm, with the purpose of simulating –as much as possible- field conditions, a fact which constitutes a scientific novelty. All experiments were performed without pH control while three different electrolytic cells, of various dimensions and volumes were designed and used. At first, the use of a chelating agent (EDTA) was evaluated and it was concluded that when used in both electrolyte chambers (anode and cathode) could enhance the transport of toxic metals, in comparison with de-ionized water. Moreover, the application and efficiency evaluation of two newly introduced surfactants -according to literature data on electrokinetic remediation of soils/sediments- commercially known as Nonidet and Poloxamer, was investigated. The results revealed their high solubilization capacity and indicated that in some individual cases higher removal percentages (in the range of 45%-50%), compared to other well-known and used surfactants (e.g. Tween 80, that removal percentages of approximately 25%-30% have been reported) or cyclodextrins (e.g. HPCD, where removal percentages ranged between 30%-35%), could be obtained. Furthermore, their contribution in the removal-transport of toxic metals from solid to liquid phase was noteworthy. In addition, the sequential application of two anolytes, a chelating agent and a surfactant in the middle of the experiment, revealed that removal percentages of some toxic metals e.g. As and Zn could be favoured by this technique (by a 5%-10%) without, at the same time, inhibiting the removal of PAHs. Furthermore, the use of citric acid as catholyte combined with its unique characteristics (e.g. depolarization of ΟΗ- generated at cathode, solubility of acetic metallic salts, biodegradability, etc.) showed potential contribution and enhancement in the transport percentages of some metals (e.g. As). Finally, a laboratory-semi-pilot scale cell was designed and used with the purpose of evaluating and/or certifying the efficiency of the aforementioned solutions and combination techniques in a larger scale. The results revealed that the removal percentages of the contaminants were maintained at high levels, such as the ones reported in the smaller cells, exhibiting similar amounts of energy consumption, reinforcing the belief of equally good expected results if the technology is to be applied in the field.

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