Treatment technologies for PAH-contaminated sites: a critical review

  • Saeid GitipourEmail author
  • George A. Sorial
  • Soroush Ghasemi
  • Mahdieh Bazyari


To reduce environmental and human health risks of contaminated sites, having a comprehensive knowledge about the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) removal processes is crucial. PAHs are contaminants which are highly recognized to pose threats to humans, animals, and plants. PAHs are hydrophobic and own two or more benzene rings, and hence are resistant to structural degradation. There are various techniques which have been developed to treat PAH-contaminated soil. Four distinct processes to remove PAHs in the contaminated soil, thought to be more effective techniques, are presented in this review: soil washing, chemical oxidation, electrokinetic, phytoremediation. In a surfactant-aided washing process, a removal rate of 90% was reported. Compost-amended phytoremediation treatment presented 58–99% removal of pyrene from the soil in 90 days. Chemical oxidation method was able to reach complete conversion for some PAHs. In electrokinetic treatment, researchers have achieved reliable results in removal of some specific PAHs. Researchers’ innovations in novel studies and advantages/disadvantages of the techniques are also investigated throughout the paper. Finally, it should be noted that an exclusive method or a combination of methods by themselves are not the key to be employed for remediation of every contaminated site but the field characteristics are also essential in selection of the most appropriate decontamination technique(s). The remedy for selection criteria is based on PAH concentrations, site characteristics, costs, shortcomings, and advantages.


Contaminated soil Decontamination technique Electrokinetic treatment Phytoremediation Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 



Environmental Protection Agency


Hydrophobic organic contaminations


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saeid Gitipour
    • 1
    Email author
  • George A. Sorial
    • 2
  • Soroush Ghasemi
    • 1
  • Mahdieh Bazyari
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EnvironmentUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.HSE Group, Graduate Faculty of EnvironmentUniversity of TehranTehranIran

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