Role of reducing agent in extraction of arsenic and heavy metals from soils by use of EDTA.

Research paper by Eun Jung EJ Kim, Eun-Ki EK Jeon, Kitae K Baek

Indexed on: 15 Mar '16Published on: 15 Mar '16Published in: Chemosphere


Although many metal-contaminated sites contain both anionic arsenic and cationic heavy metals, the current remediation technologies are not effective for the simultaneous removal of both anionic and cationic elements from the contaminated sites due to their different characteristics. In this study, the role of reducing agent in simultaneous extraction of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn from contaminated soils was investigated using EDTA. The addition of reducing agents, which includes sodium oxalate (Na2C2O4), ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) and sodium dithionite (Na2S2O4), greatly enhanced the EDTA extraction of both As and heavy metals from the contaminated soils due to the increased mobility of the metals under the reduced conditions. The extent of the enhancement of the EDTA extraction was greatly affected by the reducing conditions. Strong reducing conditions (0.1 M of dithionite) were required for the extraction of metals strongly bound to the soil, while weak reducing conditions (0.01 M of dithionite or 0.1 M of oxalate/ascorbic acid) were sufficient for extraction of metals that were relatively weakly bound to the soil. An almost 90% extraction efficiency of total metals (As, Cu, Zn, and Pb) was obtained from the contaminated soils using the combination of dithionite and EDTA. Our results clearly showed that the combination of dithionite and EDTA can effectively extract As and heavy metals simultaneously from soils under a wide range of pH conditions.