Desorption of Heavy Metals from Lime-Stabilized Arid-Soils using Different Extractants

  • Arif Ali Baig MoghalEmail author
  • Syed Abu Sayeed Mohammed
  • Abdullah Almajed
  • Mosleh Ali Al-Shamrani
Research paper


This article evaluates the desorption of heavy metals from lime-stabilized, contaminated semi-arid soils under harsh environmental conditions involving chemical extractants, specifically, acetic acid (CH3COOH), nitric acid (HNO3), ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA), and diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid (DTPA). In this study, heavy metals, such as arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb), were spiked with two semi-arid soils (exhibiting different plasticity characteristics) at different load ratios (10–250 mg/kg); they were later stabilized with lime to evaluate the reduction in their mobility. Extensive desorption tests were performed on these soil mixtures to study the efficacy of lime for the in situ fixation of heavy metals. This study revealed that irrespective of the nature and size of the heavy metal, the removal efficiency for the soils was greater than 80%, and EDTA at a concentration of 1 M yielded the maximum removal efficiency. It was found that the cationic metal ions Hg and Pb were desorbed effectively by EDTA, while As was desorbed by HNO3 and Cr by DTPA. The order of desorption for heavy metals was found to be as follows: As > Cr > Hg > Pb. The lime amended soils exhibited lower removal efficiencies (more than 48% retained) due to efficient retention of metals in the soil interstices, making them inert and immobile. There was an improvement of 40% in soils amended with lime compared with virgin soils in the case where soil washing by harsh washing agents was resisted; this proves that the contaminants were embedded in the interstices of the soil calcium interfaces. Therefore, this study asserts the notion that the mobility of heavy metal ions from brownfields can be effectively reduced by in situ lime treatment.


Heavy metals Soil Lime Desorption Stabilization Chelants 



The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this work through Research Group no. RG-1440-073. The authors thank the reviewers for their constructive comments which helped the cause of manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3491 kb)


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Copyright information

© Iran University of Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geotechnical Division, Department of Civil EngineeringNational Institute of Technology (NIT)WarangalIndia
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringHKBK College of EngineeringBengaluruIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Bugshan Research Chair in Expansive Soils, Department of Civil Engineering, College of EngineeringKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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