Industrial, agricultural and urban pollution have resulted in harmful soil contamination. Hydrogen peroxide is useful for mitigating these problems.
In the treatment of soils, hydrogen peroxide can be used in different ways. The combination of hydrogen peroxide and small amounts of iron salt catalysts from the soil itself or added separately, produces highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that degrade even very stable organic compounds (Fenton´s reaction). Oxidizing treatments with systems using ozone/hydrogen peroxide (O3/H2O2) or hydrogen peroxide/UV (H2O2/UV) are well adapted to the elimination of organic pollutants present in groundwater (aromatic compounds, chlorinated organics).
Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide can be used as a source of oxygen for in-situ bioremediation of the soil, in particular for the elimination of hydrocarbons.
Hydrogen peroxide is widely used in various technological processes to reduce the environmental impact of exhaust gases. Thus, nitrogen dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from the steel industry, which uses nitric acid in a pickling process, can be strongly reduced. At the end of the last century, acid rain was a huge environmental problem in many developed countries. One of the main reasons was the emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in exhaust gases. Mercaptans, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) removal from effluents or off-gases is achieved by utilization of a wet scrubber with hydrogen peroxide. It is also used to reduce toxicity and odors at paper mills, rendering plants, metal smelters, pharmaceutical, pesticide, chemical manufacturing or petrochemical facilities.