Sequencing zerovalent iron treatment with carbon amendments to remediate agrichemical-contaminated soil

Hardiljeet K. Boparai, Patrick J. Shea, Steve D. Comfort, Thomas A. Machacek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Agrichemical spills and discharges to soil can cause point-source contamination of surface and ground waters. When high contaminant concentrations inhibit natural attenuation in soils, chemical treatments can be used to promote degradation and allow application of treated soils to agricultural lands. This approach was used to remediate soil containing >650 mg atrazine, >170 mg metolachlor and >18,000 mg nitrate kg-1. Results indicated a decrease in metolachlor concentration to <1 mg kg-1 within 95 days of chemical treatment with zerovalent iron (Fe0, 5% w/w) and aluminum sulfate (Al2(SO4)3, 2% w/w) but after one year >150 mg atrazine and >7000 mg nitrate kg-1 remained. Laboratory experiments confirmed that subsequent additions of sucrose (table sugar) to the chemically pretreated soil promoted further reductions in atrazine and nitrate concentrations. Field-scale results showed that adding 5% (w/w) sucrose to windrowed and pretreated soil significantly reduced atrazine (<38 mg kg-1) and nitrate (<2,100 mg kg-1) concentrations and allowed for land application of the treated soil. These results provide evidence that zerovalent iron in combination with Al 2(SO4)3 and sucrose can be used for on-site, field-scale treatment of pesticide- and nitrate-contaminated soil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Atrazine
  • Degradation
  • Metolachlor
  • Nitrate
  • Zerovalent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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