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This investigation determined the in situ cleanup potential for using cationic surfactants to remove lead from soil under saturated conditions. To accomplish this task, flushing tests were conducted on saturated columns containing a sandy loam soil spiked with 1000 ppm of lead. Four different flushing treatments were investigated: water, dilute nitric acid (pH 3.6), and two cationic surfactant solutions above the critical micelle concentration—0.025 mol/L lapyrium chloride (LC), and 0.025 mol/L isostearamidopropyl morpholine lactate (ISML). These two surfactants were chosen based on previous batch equilibrium tests. In the saturated column experiments conducted in this study, ISML and LC desorbed 94 and 92% of the lead from the Slaughterville soil, respectively, while water and dilute nitric acid accounted for only 1.5 and 1.7%, respectively. Sorption processes substantially reduced the mobility of both surfactants as evidenced by retardation factors of 21 for ISML and 18 for LC. Twenty pore volumes of 0.025 mol/L ISML were required to remove 50% of the lead as compared with 230 pore volumes of 0.025 mol/L LC, indicating that ISML was substantially more efficient than was LC. Based on these findings, ISML appears to show good potential for in situ use in cleanup of lead from soil.
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