Treatment of environmental contamination using sepiolite: current approaches and future potential

Na Song*, Andrew Hursthouse, Iain McLellan, Zhenghua Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


To evaluate the potential of sepiolite based materials to resolve environmental pollution problems, a study is needed which looks at the whole life cycle of material application, including the residual value of material classified as waste from the exploitation of sepiolite deposits in the region or from its processing and purification. This would also maximize value from the exploitation process and provide new potential for local waste management. We review the geographical distribution of sepiolite, its application in the treatment of potentially toxic elements in soil and across the wider landscape, an assessment of modification and compositional variation of sepiolite-based applications within site remediation and wastewater treatment. The potential of sepiolite-based technologies is widespread and a number of processes utilize sepiolite-derived materials. Along with its intrinsic characteristics, both the long-term durability and the cost-effectiveness of the application need to be considered, making it possible to design ready-to-use products with good market acceptance. From a critical analysis of the literature, the most frequently associated terms associated with sepiolite powder are the use of lime and bentonite, while fly ash ranked in the top ten of the most frequently used material with sepiolite. These add improved performance for the inclusion as a soil or wastewater treatment options, alone or applied in combination with other treatment methods. This approach needs an integrated assessment to establish economic viability and environmental performance. Applications are not commonly evaluated from a cost– benefit perspective, in particular in relation to case studies within geographical regions hosting primary sepiolite deposits and wastes that have the potential for beneficial reuse.
Original languageEnglish
Article number007050
Pages (from-to)2679-2697
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2020


  • modified sepiolite
  • adsorption
  • potentially toxic elements
  • remediation material composition
  • economic analysis


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