Remediating polluted soils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review focuses on treatment-based remediation of soils and the acquisition of data to support and monitor this remediation. Only in the last two decades has significant progress been made in regulating for soil pollution, with a parallel development of methodologies for soil assessment and remediation. However, soil complexity remains a problem for pollutant measurements relevant to environmental risk and informative to the design or evaluation of remediation technologies. Understanding the distribution of pollutants between different soil phases and the kinetics of transfer between these pools is fundamental to prediction for these processes; further progress is needed to characterise less accessible pollutant pools and to develop guidelines for their analysis. Available remediation options include physical, chemical and biological treatments, and these options offer potential technical solutions to most soil pollution. However, selecting the most appropriate approach requires detailed information on how pollutants interact with soil physio-chemical properties. Only general information is available as to the effectiveness of specific treatment systems for particular soil type–pollutant combinations. Given the high degree of heterogeneity in physio-chemical characteristics and pollutant distribution of affected soils, prediction of treatment timescales and levels of residual contamination remains a problem. On sites with a range of organic and inorganic pollutants present, combinations of different treatment approaches may offer the best prospect for effective remediation. Further work is needed to provide evidence that residual contamination does not pose significant risk and to evaluate effects of treatments on general soil function in relation to this contamination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2006


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