Fertility Deterioration in a Remediated Petroleum-Contaminated Soil

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 7;17(2):382. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020382.


A soil that had been remediated by soil washing and chemical oxidation was evaluated, comparing it to an uncontaminated control soil ~30 m away. Profile descriptions were made of both soils over a 0-1 m depth, and samples were analyzed from each soil horizon. Samples were also analyzed from surface soil (0-30 cm). The control soil (a Fluvisol), had several unaltered A and C horizons, but the remediated soil presented only two poorly differentiated horizons, without structure and much lower in organic matter (<0.5%). In surface samples (0-30 cm), the bulk density, sand-silt-clay contents, field capacity, organic matter, and porosity were different with respect to the control (p > 0.05), and there was much greater compaction (3.04 vs. 1.10 MPa). However, the hydrocarbon concentration in the remediated soil was low (969.12 mg kg-1, average), and was not correlated to soil fertility parameters, such as porosity, organic matter, pH, moisture, field capacity or texture (R2 < 0.69), indicating that the impacts (such as compaction, lower field capacity and moisture content) were not due to residual hydrocarbons. Likewise, acute toxicity (Microtox) was not found, nor water repellency (penetration time < 5 s). It was concluded that the fertility deterioration in this soil was caused principally from the mixture of upper (loam) and lower (silty clay to silty clay loam) horizons during remediation treatment. Another important factor was the reduction in organic material, probably caused by the chemical oxidation treatment.

Keywords: compaction; physical-chemical treatment; residual hydrocarbons; soil profile; toxicity; water repellency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation*
  • Mexico
  • Petroleum / adverse effects*
  • Soil Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Soil Pollutants / chemistry*


  • Petroleum
  • Soil Pollutants