Optimization of Removal Process of Petroleum Hydrocarbons from Soil Using Microwave Radiation and Its Effect on Some Soil Biological Characteristics

Document Type : Research Paper


Such thermal methods as MicroWave (MW) radiations are considered as fast and efficient approaches in removal of organic pollutants from aquatic and terrestrial environments. This study was carried out to find the optimum conditions for oil removal from contaminated soils treated by MW irradiation. Following soil sampling from Tehran Refinery surroundings, the samples were treated under various conditions for including MW power intensity (770, 1100 and 1250 w) and frequency of 2.45 GHz, time of irradiation (5, 10 and 15 min), soil moisture (1, 10 and 15 % w/w) and added activated carbon (0, 2.5 and 5 % w/w). The optimum conditions of oil removal were obtained from results of Taguchi L9 orthogonal array. Besides, the effect of MW irradiation on some chemical and biological properties of soil was also investigated. Results indicated that the optimum conditions of the investigated parameter ranges were as follows: MW power (1100 w), irradiation time (15 min), soil moisture (1 % w/w) and added activated carbon (5 % w/w). About 70 % of petroleum hydrocarbons were dissipated within optimum conditions. Although the method exhibited some negative effects on respiration and population and respiration of soil microorganisms, still it can be used as an effective and fast approach for remediation of highly polluted soils considering the economic feasibility.      


Main Subjects

Appleton, T., Colder, V., Kingman, S., Lowndes, I. and Read, A. (2005) Microwave technology for energy-efficient processing of waste. Applied Energy, 81, 85–113.
Bloem, J., Hopkins, D. W. and Benedetti, A. (2005) Microbiological methods for assessing soil quality. Wallingford: CABI.
Chang, C. J., Tyagi, V. K. and Lo S. L. (2011) Effects of microwave and alkali induced pretreatment on sludge solubilization and subsequent aerobic digestion. Bioresource Technology, 102, 7633-7640.
Chien, Y. C. (2012) Field study of in situ remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soil on site using microwave energy. Journal of Hazardous Materials 15, 457– 461.
Cioni, B. and Petarca, L. (2011) Petroleum products removal from contaminated soils using microwave heating. Chemical Engineering Transactions, 24, 1033-1038.
Darbar, S. R. and Lakzian, A. (2007) Evaluation of chemical and biological consequences of soil sterilization methods. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 5, 87-91.
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), (2003) Risk-Based Decision Making for the Remediation of Petroleum-Contaminated Sites. State of Oregon, Land Quality Division.
Ferris, R. S. (1983) Effect of microwave oven treatment on microorganisms in soil. The American Phytopathological Society, 74(1), 121-126.
Jacob, J., Chia, L. H .L. and Boey, F. Y. C. (1995) Review—thermal and non-thermal interaction of microwave radiation with materials. Journal of Materials Science, 21, 5321–5327.
Jones, D. A., Lelyveld, T. P., Mavrofidis, S. D., Kingman, S. W. and Miles, N. J. (2002) Microwave heating applications in environmental engineering – a review. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 34, 75–90.
Kawala, Z. and Atamanaczuk, T. (1998) Microwave-enhanced thermal decontamination of soil, Environmental Science and Technology, 32, 2602-2607.
Lin, Q. and Brooks, P. C. “(1999) An evaluation of the substrate-induced respiration method. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 31, 1969-1983.
Li, D., Quan, X., Zhang, Y. and Zhao, Y. (2008) Microwave-induced thermal treatment of petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soil, Soil and Sediment Contamination, 17, 486–496.
Li, D., Zhang, Y., Quan, X. and Zhao, Y. (2009) Microwave thermal remediation of crude oil contaminated soil enhanced by carbon fiber, Journal of Environmental Sciences, 21, 1290–1295.
Lordache, D. 2010. Utilization of microwave energy for decontamination of oil polluted soils. Journal of Microwave Power and Electromagnetic Energy. 44 (4), 213-221.
Mansurov, Z. A., Ongarbaev, E. K. and Tuleutaev, B. K. (2001) Contamination of soil by crude oil and drilling muds: Use of wastes by production of road construction materials. Chemistry and Technology of Fuels and Oils, 6, 441–443.
Menendez, J. A., Inguanzo, M. and Pis, J. J. (2002) Microwave-induced pyrolysis of sewage sludge, Water Research, 36, 3261– 3264.
Pietikainen, J., Pettersson, M. and Baath, E. (2005) Comparison of temperature effects on soil respiration and bacterial and fungal growth rates , FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 52, 49-58.
Ranjit, K. R. (2001). Design of experiments using the Taguchi approach: 16 steps to product and process improvement. New York: Wiley.
Remya, N. and Jih, G. L. (2011) Current status of microwave application in wastewater treatment, A review. Chemical Engineering Journal, 166, 797–813.
Sang, A. H. and Kyoung, S. C. (2010) A study of a combined microwave and thermal desorption process for contaminated soil. Environmental Engineering Research, 15(4), 225-230.
Schumacher, B. A. (2002) Methods for the determination of total organic carbon (TOC) in soils and sediments. United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Sciences Division National.
Shang, H., Robinson, J. P., Kingman, S. W., Snape, C. E. and Wu, Q. (2007) Theoretical study of microwave enhanced thermal decontamination of oil contaminated waste. Chemical Engineering and Technology, 30(1), 121–130.
Shang. H., Kingman, S. W., Snape, C. E. and Robinson, J. P. (2006) Microwave remediation of oil contaminated soils. Chinese Journal of Geochemistry, 25, 113.
USEPA (2006). In situ Tretment Technologies fot Contaminated Soil.Engineering Forum Issue Paper. USA.
Waling, I. W., Vanvark, V. J. G., Houba, J. J. and Vander, I. (1989) Soil and plant analysis, a series of syllab. In Dixon, J. B., Weed, S. B. (Eds.), Plant analysis procedures. Wageningen Agriculture University. pp. 567-589.
Windgasse, G. and Dauerman L. (1992) Microwave treatment of hazardous wastes: remediation of soils contaminated by non-volatile organic chemicals like dioxins. Microwave Power Electromagnetic Energy Journal, 27, 54–61.
Xitao, L. and Gang, Y. (2006) Combined effect of microwave and activated carbon on the remediation of polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated soil, Chemosphere, 63, 228–235.
Xitao, L., Quan, Z., Guixiang, Z. and Run, W. (2008) Application of microwave irradiation in the removal of polychlorinated biphenyls from soil contaminated by capacitor oil, Chemosphere, 72, 1655–1658.
Zolfaghari ,Gh., Esmaili-Sari, A., Anbia, M.,Younesi, H., Amirmahmoodi, Sh. and Ghafari-Nazari, A. (2011) Taguchi optimization approach for Pb (II) and Hg (II) removal from aqueous solutions using modified mesoporous carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 192, 1046-1055.