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Use of Activated Persulfate in the Removal of Petroleum Hydrocarbons From Crude Oil Polluted Soils

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, University of Port Harcourt, NIGERIA

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 1, Issue (7), Pages 57-67, October,18 (2011)


Persulfates as very strong oxidants, have found a wide range of applications. Prominent among these is its use in the oxidation of organic contaminants especially hydrocarbons in the environment. Since crude oil is made up of mainly hydrocarbons, it follows that persulfates can be used in the remediation of crude oil polluted soils. The three prominent hydrocarbon groups - Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH); benzene,toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX); and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are used in this work to study the ability of persulfates to degrade hydrocarbons in crude oil inundated soils. This was done by spiking soil samples with bonnylight crude oil and subsequently treating the mixture with potassium persulfate solution at acidic, neutral and basic pH ranges. Oil extracts from the treated and an untreated soil samples were later analysed using a gas chromatograph (GC). Efficiency of hydrocarbon removal was selective. While persulfate was good in the removal of the BTEX, it was found not to be so effective in the removal of the PAHs. Percentage hydrocarbon removal for BTEX was about 97%, 95% and 95% at acidic, neutral and basic pH ranges respectively but less than 27%, 3% and 41%, for the PAHs at the acidic neutral and basic pH ranges respectively . The four and five ringed PAHs were degraded more than the three and two ringed ones at the indicated pH ranges. The complete disappearance of the nC20 and above hydrocarbons at the neutral pH range was noteworthy.


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