Extraction of petroleum hydrocarbons from soil by mechanical shaking

A. P. Schwab, J. Su, S. Wetzel, S. Pekarek, M. K. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


A shaking extraction method for petroleum hydrocarbons in soil was developed and compared to Soxhlet extraction. Soxhlet extraction is an EPA- approved method for volatile and semivolatile organic contaminants from solid materials, but it has many disadvantages including long extraction periods and potential loss of volatile compounds. When field-moist soils are used, variability in subsamples is higher, and the extraction of hydrocarbons with a nonpolar solvent may be less efficient. A shaking method was designed to fill the need for simpler and more efficient extraction of petroleum hydrocarbons from soil. A systematic study of extraction conditions was performed for various soil types, soil weights, solvents, extraction times, and extraction cycles. The results were compared to those for Soxhlet extraction. Shaking 1 g of soil with a sequence of three 10-mL aliquots of dichloromethane or acetone was found to be equivalent to Soxhlet extraction for total petroleum hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Shaking with acetone was more consistent than all other methods for the extraction of specific compounds from aged, contaminated soil. The shaking method appears to be applicable to a wide range of soil types and petroleum contaminants but should be compared to Soxhlet extraction for new conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1940-1945
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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