To simultaneously avoid a decrease of electro-osmotic now by hydrogen ions and to increase heavy metal precipitation due to hydroxide ions, simulated electrokinetic remediation was conducted in saturated kaolinite specimens loaded with lead(II) using an electrolyte circulation method to control electrolyte pH. At an electrolyte circulation rate of 1.1 ml/min, it was possible to increase the anolyte pH from 2 to 4 and decrease the catholyte pH from 12 to 8. Using electrolyte circulation, it was observed that the rate of decrease of clay pH due to the change of electrolyte pH was reduced. As a result, the operable period was extended and the removal efficiency for lead(II) was also increased. It was observed that most of the effluent lead(II) from the cathode compartment was electroplated onto the cathode and that residual effluent lead(II) did not precipitate onto, or adsorb to, the clay at the anode compartment during circulation. Therefore, there was no need to treat the electrolyte because there was virtually no effluent from the cathode compartment in the circulation system. It was also found that the electrolyte volume required to sustain the electrolytic reaction was sufficient for the whole electrokinetic remediation process. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.