Extractive Treatment of Arsenic Contaminated Clay Soils (Vermiculite)

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Civil Engineering, Sirjan University of Technology, P.O.Box 7813733385, Sirjan, Iran.


In this research, the capability of vermiculite in arsenic extraction, associated with characterizing its main properties was evaluated. To address this purpose, vermiculite was artificially contaminated with arsenic at 7 and 28-day intervals. Then, arsenic was extracted from contaminated soils by different extractants. Various physical and mechanical tests were performed to investigate the effect of arsenic as an anionic contaminant on the properties of the vermiculite, as well as to evaluate how the properties of the contaminated soil were altered by the extraction process. The carbonate bonding phase was probably mainly responsible for the adsorption and fixation of arsenic with more than 50% portion among measured fractions at different curing times. Based on the vermiculite condition, hydrochloric acid was the best extractant for removing arsenic in all studied samples (around 3 -18 % more than other extractants). The clay soil demonstrated few changes due to arsenic contamination and modification. In general, the most promising characteristics of vermiculite as clay liner are its stability after contamination due to high CEC and SSA; however, its workability and strength (UCS between 110 to 220 kPa at different soil conditions) is a challenge and must be improved by adding coarser fractions like silt particles. In general, the results of this study regarding the effects of arsenic contamination and extraction onto vermiculite’s physical properties can provide appropriate information for researchers and geo-environmental engineers.


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