Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Environ. Sci. Technol., 1999, 33 (9), pp 1488–1494. Copyright © 1999 American Chemical Society. Used by permission.


Soil and water contaminated with hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) is a serious environmental problem at several active and abandoned munitions production facilities. Zero-valent iron (Fe0) can effectively remediate RDX-contaminated soil and water. The objective of this study was to manipulate Eh and pH for enhanced Fe0-mediated destruction of RDX. This was accomplished by monitoring RDX destruction under controlled Eh-pH conditions (Eh: −300 to +150 mV; pH: 2−10). Decreasing Eh and pH increased RDX destruction in aqueous solution. Treating 20 mg of RDX L-1 (90 μM) under a static Eh of −150 mV and pH 7 with 20 g of Fe0 L-1 removed 95% of the RDX within 4 h; no RDX was detected after 8 h. Treating a soil slurry (20% solids; 510 mg RDX kg-1 soil) with 20 g of Fe0 L-1 at an Eh of −150 mV and pH 7 increased RDX destruction by 24% over the unbuffered control and resulted in 99% RDX destruction within 24 h. Adding 4.2 mM sodium sulfide (in lieu of a static Eh) under similar conditions resulted in 93% RDX loss within 24 h. Results indicated that lowering Eh and maintaining neutral pH during Fe0 treatment can increase RDX destruction in contaminated soil and water.