Soil is a vital natural resource whose importance is often not realized. Like water and air, soil too is subject to contamination, largely by various human activities. With human population increasing exponentially we are increasingly encroaching into agriculture land for residential and commercial real estate and forest area is encroached for agriculture purpose. It is therefore important for us to understand the importance of reusing contaminated land by soil remediation and thereby ensuring that there is no pressure on the environment on the whole. The various options available for the remediation of soil and its feasibility will be discussed in this article.
Soil contamination refers to the presence of un-natural (human-made) chemicals or other substances in the soil. The pollutant can be a solid or liquid. These chemicals include hydrocarbons such as gasoline and petroleum leaks seeping into the soil, derivatives of petroleum, heavy metals, dumping of solid and liquid waste, excessive use of pesticide and herbicides. In case of contamination by petroleum the challenges of removing contamination becomes harder as they are not soluble in water and can adhere to the soil particles. Heavy metals and oils are also known to seep into the ground water which spread the contamination to a larger area.
Cleaning of contaminated soil can involve removal of soil from the contaminated area or on-site treatment. They are called Ex-situ remediation and In-situ remediation respectively.
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