Fenton oxidation for soil remediation: A critical review of observations in historically contaminated soils

Muhammad Usman*, Salah Jellali, Ioannis Anastopoulos, Yassine Charabi, Bassim H. Hameed, Khalil Hanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Fenton-based treatments have received tremendous attention in recent decades as viable strategies for soil decontamination. Historically contaminated soils are characterized by particular contamination types, pollution composition patterns, soil constituents, and complex soil-pollutant interactions arising due to long-term pollutant aging. These major pitfalls dictate the remediation efficiency in a significantly different way in soils with a history of contamination than that in a spiked soil. It becomes, therefore, highly challenging to treat historically contaminated soils. Despite the immense amount of collected research data in these soils, to our knowledge, no comprehensive review of this topic has been published. This article is intended to provide a critical review of the applications, limitations, and implications of various Fenton-based processes exclusively in these soils. These processes are differentiated on the basis of experimental conditions, reaction chemistry, efficiency, and impacts on soil biota. These processes are critically evaluated to illustrate the promising techniques with a brief description of related challenges and their potential solutions. Moreover, coupling Fenton oxidation with other remediation techniques such as bioremediation, chemical reduction, and soil washing has also been discussed. The last part of this review describes the effects of these processes onto soil quality and native biota, and how they can be addressed. It is also highly demanding to identify the processes which are not likely to evolve in practice either due to their poor efficiency, treatment cost, or environmental impacts. Future critical research directions have been identified to promote research for the upscaling of this technique for real field application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127670
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2022


  • Advanced oxidation processes
  • Fenton oxidation
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Soil contamination
  • Soil remediation
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Soil Pollutants/analysis
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Soil
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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