This paper discusses the importance of having a good initial characterization of soil samples when thermal desorption has to be applied to polluted soils for the removal of contaminants. Particular attention has to be devoted on the desorption kinetics of the samples to identify the gases evolved during the heating, and contaminant degradation pathways. In this study, two samples coming from different points of the same contaminated site were considered. The samples are much different from each other. Moreover, the presence of high initial quantity of heavy hydrocarbons strongly affected the performance of thermal desorption, resulting in formation of dangerous intermediates. Analytical techniques such TGA (Thermogravimetric Analysis), DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry) and GC-MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass) provided a good support to give correct indication for field application.
 V. Cappuyns, “Environmental impacts of soil remediation activities: quantitative and qualitative tools applied on three case studies.” J. Clean. Prod. Vol. 52, pp. 145–154, 2013.
 PT. Kostecki, EJ. Calabrese, “Petroleum contaminated soils: remediation techniques, environmental fate, risk assessment.” Chelsea, MI: Lewis Publishers, 1989.
 P. Acharya, D. Fogo, C. McBride, “Process challenges in rotary kiln based incinerators in soil remediation projects.” Environ Progr. Vol. 15, pp. 267–76, 1996.
 K. Kasai, S. Harjanto, T. Terui, T. Nakamura, Y. Waseda. “Thermal remediation of PCDD/Fs contaminated soil by zone combustion process.” Chemosphere vol. 41, pp. 857–64, 2000.
 L.V. Pavel, M. Gavrilescu, “Overview of ex-situ decontamination technologies for soil clean-up.” Environmental. Eng. Management. J. vol. 7, pp. 815–834, 2008.
 R. Baker, John C. Lachance and Gorm Heron. “Application of the thermal remediation techniques for in-situ treatment of contaminated soil and water.” TerraTherm, Inc. NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Greece. Springer 2006.
 U. Roland, F. Holzer, D. Buchenhorst, F.D. Kopinke, “Results of Field Tests on Radio-Wave Heating for Soil Remediation.” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 41 (issue 24), pp. 8447–8452, 2007.
 CL:AIRE. “In Situ Radio Frequency Heating (ISRFH) of Hydrocarbon. Contaminated Chalk at a Former Service Station in Kent” TDP Bulletin 28, February 2011.
 Takeshi Sato, Tomohiro Todoroki, Kimiaki Shimoda, Akihiko Terada, Masaaki Hosomi, “Behavior of PCDDs/PCDFs in remediation of PCBs-contaminated sediments by thermal desorption.” Chemosphere vol. 80, pp. 184–189, 2010.
 Sri Harjanto, Eiki Kasai, Toshikatsu Terui, Takashi Nakamura, “Formation and transport of PCDD/Fs in the packed bed of soil containing organic chloride during a thermal remediation process.” Chemosphere vol. 49, pp.217–224, 2002.
 US EPA method 3540C “Soxhlet extraction.”