Electro-osmosis treatment techniques and their effect on dewatering of soils, sediments, and sludge: A review

Lucas Martin, Vahid Alizadeh, Jay Meegoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Electro-osmosis is an established method of dewatering fine soils, sediments, and sludge (SSS). The efficiency of electro-osmotic treatment is controlled by the electrical resistance of the system. Due to an increase in SSS resistance during treatment, its cost efficiency is reduced, limiting the widespread use of this technique. The aim of this paper is to discuss the main reasons for the increase in SSS resistance during treatment and then to analyze the most recent and widely spread modifications to classical electro-osmotic treatment that attempt to combat these issues and improve the efficiency of the technique. These modifications to electro-osmotic treatment are polarity reversal, an intermittent current, the injection of chemical solutions at the electrodes, and the use of geo-synthetics. The paper discusses the relevant research on the above adaptations, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are evaluated and compared using the available laboratory and field tests in the literature on electro-osmotic dewatering research. All four methods of modification are shown to provide significant improvements and can be successfully translated to the field for greater use. However, the improvements they bring about may not be sufficient to warrant their general use in geotechnical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-418
Number of pages12
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


  • Chemical injection
  • Consolidation
  • Dewatering
  • Electro-osmosis
  • Energy consumption
  • Geo-synthetics
  • Ground resistance
  • Intermittent current
  • Polarity reversal


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