Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1701–1719 | Cite as

Review of remediation technologies for sediments contaminated by heavy metals

  • Weihua Peng
  • Xiaomin Li
  • Shengtao Xiao
  • Wenhong Fan
Sediments, Sec 5 • Sediment Management • Review Article



Contamination of sediments with heavy metals (HMs) is a worldwide environmental issue, due to the negative ecological effects of HMs. Sediments are an important component of aquatic ecosystems, impacting the transformation and transfer of HMs in the environment. Thus, remediating sediments polluted by HMs is a crucial activity within the full aquatic ecosystem remediation process, and economical, effective, and environmentally friendly remediation techniques are urgently needed.

Materials and methods

We reviewed the existing literature on sediment remediation techniques and developments in the fields of environmental science and engineering, attempting to provide a better understanding of the advances of remediation techniques and new research directions for sediments contaminated by HMs.

Results and discussion

This review summarized remediation methods (e.g., physical–chemical strategies, biological strategies, and combined techniques) used to treat sediments contaminated with HMs. This included analyzing the mechanisms associated with biological remediation technologies and their combination with other methods. Then, the review summarized the factors influencing the selection of remediation methods and evaluated the prospects of new emerging remediation methods.


Bioimmobilization techniques (e.g., phytostabilization and microorganism immobilization) have received increased attention because of their low remediation cost and environmental compatibility. Furthermore, particular attention has been paid to explore the role of sulfate-reducing bacteria in decreasing heavy metal mobility. The review provides a useful theoretical foundation and technology reference for the remediation of sediment polluted by HMs.


Bioremediation Heavy metals Remediation Sediment Sulfate-reducing bacteria 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51778031, 21707006 and 51708012), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (8142027), Excellence Foundation of BUAA for Ph.D. Students (2017068), and the open projects of collaborative innovation center of Suzhou Regional Development (2015SZXTZXKF04).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Space and EnvironmentBeihang UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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