Surfactants treatment of crude oil contaminated soils

Kingsley Urum, Turgay Pekdemir, Mehmet Çopur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports experimental measurements investigating the ability of a biological (rhamnolipid) and a synthetic (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS) surfactant to remove the North Sea Ekofisk crude oil from various soils with different particle size fractions under varying washing conditions. The washing parameters and ranges tested were as follows: temperature (5 to 50°C), time (5 to 20 min), shaking speed (80 to 200 strokes/min), volume (5 to 20 cm 3), and surfactant concentration (0.004 to 5 mass%). The contaminated soils were prepared in the laboratory by mixing crude oil and soils using a rotating cylindrical mixer. Two contamination cases were considered: (1) weathered contamination was simulated by keeping freshly contaminated soils in a fan assisted oven at 50°C for 14 days, mimicking the weathering effect in a natural hot environment, and (2) nonweathered contamination which was not subjected to the oven treatment. The surfactants were found to have considerable potential in removing crude oil from different contaminated soils and the results were comparable with those reported in literature for petroleum hydrocarbons. The removal of crude oil with either rhamnolipid or SDS was within the repeatability range of ±6%. The most influential parameters on oil removal were surfactant concentration and washing temperature. The soil cation exchange capacity and pH also influenced the removal of crude oil from the individual soils. However, due to the binding of crude oil to soil during weathering, low crude oil removal was achieved with the weathered contaminated soil samples. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-464
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2004


  • (Bio)surfactants
  • Crude oil
  • Nonweathered
  • Oil removal
  • Soil
  • Soil washing
  • Weathered


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