This paper presents the results from study investigating the efficiency with which different surfactants remove crude oil from contaminated soil using a soil washing process. The surfactants studied were aqueous solutions of rhamnolipid, saponin and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). The efficiency of surfactants' removal was quantified and then GC/MS analysis conducted to investigate the distribution of hydrocarbons remaining on the washed soil samples compared to those on a control. The results showed that SDS removed the most crude oil from soil, followed by rhamnolipid and then saponin. However, the different surfactants showed preferences in terms of which crude oil components they removed from the contaminated soil. SDS removed more of the aliphatics than aromatic hydrocarbons whereas saponin removed the aromatic hydrocarbon preferentially to the aliphatic hydrocarbons. Clearly these results provide important information for the selection of surfactants used to remove crude oil from contaminated soils. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Crude oil removal
- Hydrocarbon distributions and GC/MS analysis
- Soil washing
- Surfactant solutions