In chemical oxidation, the oxidation state of a contaminant is increased by the loss of electrons, while the oxidation state of the reactant is lowered. Conversely, in reduction, the oxidation state of a contaminant is decreased by the addition of electrons. Oxidizing or reducing agents can be added to contaminated water to destroy, detoxify, or convert the contaminants to less hazardous compounds. Many hazardous substances including various organics, sulfites, soluble cyanide- and arsenic-containing compounds, hydroxylamine, and chromates can be oxidized or reduced to forms which are more readily removed from groundwater (Huibregts and Kastman 1979).
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