- The enhancement of soil retention for phenanthrene (PHE) through the addition of a binary mixture of cationic gemini (12-2-12) and nonionic surfactants (C12E10) was investigated. The maximum apparent sorption coefficient Kd(*) reached 4247.8 mL/g through the addition of mixed 12-2-12 gemini and C12E10 surfactants, which was markedly higher than the summed individual results in the presence of individual 12-2-12 gemini (1148.6 mL/g) or C12E10 (210.0 mL/g) surfactant. However, the sorption of 12-2-12 gemini was inhibited by the increasing C12E10 dose; and a higher initial 12-2-12 gemini dose showed a higher "desorption" rate. The present study also addressed the sorption behavior of the single 12-2-12 gemini surfactant at the soil/aqueous interface. The sorption isotherm was divided into two steps to elucidate the sorption process; and the sorption schematics were proposed to elaborate the growth of surfactant aggregates corresponding to the various steps of the sorption isotherm. Finally, a two-step adsorption and partition model (TAPM) was developed to simulate the sorption process. Analysis of the equilibrium data indicated that the sorption isotherms of 12-2-12 gemini fitted the TAPM model better. Thermodynamic calculations confirmed that the 12-2-12 gemini sorption at the soil/aqueous interface was spontaneous and exothermic from 288 to 308K.