Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 2081–2091 | Cite as

Combining potassium chloride leaching with vertical electrokinetics to remediate cadmium-contaminated soils

  • Qiang Ma
  • Jun Li
  • Charles C. C. Lee
  • Xinxian Long
  • Yongmao Liu
  • Qi-Tang WuEmail author
Original Paper


This study evaluated the feasibility of combining potassium chloride (KCl) leaching and electrokinetic (EK) treatment for the remediation of cadmium (Cd) and other metals from contaminated soils. KCl leaching was compared at three concentrations (0.2%, 0.5%, and 1% KCl). EK treatment was conducted separately to migrate the metals in the topsoil to the subsoil. The combined approach using KCl leaching before or after EK treatment was compared. For the single vertical EK treatment, the removal of Cd, lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) from the topsoil (0–20 cm) was 9.38%, 4.80%, 0.95%, and 10.81%, respectively. KCl leaching at 1% KCl removed 84.06% Cd, 9.95% Pb, 4.34% Cu, and 19.93% Zn from the topsoil, with higher removal efficiency than that of the 0.2% and 0.5% KCl leaching treatments. By combining the KCl leaching and EK treatment, the removal efficiency of heavy metals improved, in particular for the 1% KCl + EK treatment, where the removal rate of Cd, Pb, Cu, and Zn from the upper surface soil reached 97.79%, 17.69%, 14.37%, and 41.96%, respectively. Correspondingly, the soil Cd content decreased from 4 to 0.21 mg/kg, and was below the Chinese standard limit of 0.3 mg/kg soil. These results indicate that 1% KCl + EK treatment is a good combination technique to mitigate Cd pollution from contaminated soils used for growing rice and leafy vegetables.


KCl Leaching Vertical electrokinetics Removal efficiency Heavy metals Contaminated soil 



This study was supported by the National Science and Technology Key Projects of China (Nos. 2015BAD05B05; 2017YFD0801002); Natural Science Foundation of Inner Mongolia, China (No. 2015KF01); Science and Technology Project of Guangdong Province, China (No. 2018B030324003); Science and Technology Project of Guangzhou City of Guangdong Province, China (No. 201604020076).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiang Ma
    • 1
  • Jun Li
    • 1
  • Charles C. C. Lee
    • 2
  • Xinxian Long
    • 1
  • Yongmao Liu
    • 3
  • Qi-Tang Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory on Soil Environment and Waste Reuse in Agriculture of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes, College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Life SciencesUniversity of Newcastle (Australia) SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Inner Mongolia Research Institute of MetallurgyHohhotChina

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