Soil contamination phenomena are a wide world issue that has received the important attention in the last decades. The main pollutants that have affected soils are especially those resulted from the oil extraction, transport and processing. This paper presents results obtained in the framework of a research project focused on the management of contaminated sites with petroleum products/ REMPET. One of the specific objectives of the REMPET project was to assess the electrochemical treatment (improved with polarity change respect to the typical approach) as a treatment option for the remediation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) from contaminated soils. Petroleum hydrocarbon compounds attach to soil components and are difficult to remove and degrade. Electrochemical treatment is a physicochemical treatment that has gained acceptance as an alternative method, for the remediation of organic contaminated soils comparing with the traditional methods as bioremediation and chemical oxidation. This type of treatment need short time and have high removal efficiency, being usually applied in heterogeneous soils with low permeability. During the experimental tests, the following parameters were monitored: pH, redox potential, humidity, current intensity, energy consumption. The electrochemical method was applied in an experimental setup with the next dimensions: 450 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm (L x l x h). The setup length was devised in three electrochemical cells that were connected at two power supplies. The power supplies configuration was provided in such manner that each cell has a cathode and an anode without overlapping. The initial value of TPH concentration in soil was of 1420.28 mg/kgdw. The remediation method has been applied for only 21 days, when it was already noticed an average removal efficiency of 31 %, with better results in the anode area respect to the cathode one (33% respect to 27%). The energy consumption registered after the development of the experiment was 10.6 kWh for exterior power supply and 16.1 kWh for the interior one. Taking into account that at national level, the most used methods for soil remediation are bioremediation (which needs too much time to be implemented and depends on many factors) and thermal desorption (which involves high costs in order to be implemented), the study of electrochemical treatment will give an alternative to these two methods (and their limitations).
The main sources of soil pollution due to petroleum contaminants are industrial processes involve crude oil. Soil polluted with crude oil is toxic for plants, animals, and humans. Human exposure to the contaminated soil occurs through different exposure pathways: Soil ingestion, diet, inhalation, and dermal contact. The present study research is focused on soil contamination with heavy metals as a consequence of soil pollution with petroleum products. Human exposure pathways considered are: Accidentally ingestion of contaminated soil and dermal contact. The purpose of the paper is to identify the human health risk (carcinogenic risk) from soil contaminated with heavy metals. The human exposure and risk were evaluated for five contaminants of concern of the eleven which were identified in soil. Two soil samples were collected from a bioremediation platform from Muntenia Region of Romania. The soil deposited on the bioremediation platform was contaminated through extraction and oil processing. For the research work, two average soil samples from two different plots were analyzed: The first one was slightly contaminated with petroleum products (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) in soil was 1420 mg/kgd.w.), while the second one was highly contaminated (TPH in soil was 24306 mg/kgd.w.). In order to evaluate risks posed by heavy metals due soil pollution with petroleum products, five metals known as carcinogenic were investigated: Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), ChromiumVI (CrVI), Nickel (Ni), and Lead (Pb). Results of the chemical analysis performed on samples collected from the contaminated soil evidence soil contamination with heavy metals as following: As in Site 1 = 6.96 mg/kgd.w; As in Site 2 = 11.62 mg/kgd.w, Cd in Site 1 = 0.9 mg/kgd.w; Cd in Site 2 = 1 mg/kgd.w; CrVI was 0.1 mg/kgd.w for both sites; Ni in Site 1 = 37.00 mg/kgd.w; Ni in Site 2 = 42.46 mg/kgd.w; Pb in Site 1 = 34.67 mg/kgd.w; Pb in Site 2 = 120.44 mg/kgd.w. The concentrations for these metals exceed the normal values established in the Romanian regulation, but are smaller than the alert level for a less sensitive use of soil (industrial). Although, the concentrations do not exceed the thresholds, the next step was to assess the human health risk posed by soil contamination with these heavy metals. Results for risk were compared with the acceptable one (10-6, according to World Human Organization). As, expected, the highest risk was identified for the soil with a higher degree of contamination: Individual Risk (IR) was 1.11×10-5 compared with 8.61×10-6.