Laboratory batch sorption and column experiments were performed to investigate the role of organic ligands such as galacturonic, glucuronic and alginic acids (main constituents of bacterial exopolymeric substances (EPS)) on Cr(VI) uptake and transport in heterogeneous subsurface media. Our batch sorption experiments demonstrate the addition of galacturonic, glucuronic and alginic acids to soils enhances Cr(VI) uptake by soil at pH values < 7.7 depending on the concentration of the ligand and pH used. The enhanced Cr(VI) uptake at pH values < 7.7 may be explained through either the catalytic reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) by the surface-bound organic matter/Fe oxides and/or the dissolved metal ions (e.g., Fe(III)) from the soil. On the other hand, organic ligands have no or little effect on Cr(VI) uptake under highly alkaline pH conditions since the catalytic Cr(VI) reduction decreases with increasing pH. Similarly, the results from column experiments show that, depending on the concentration of organic ligands, the Cr(VI) breakthrough curves were significantly retarded relative to the organic acid-free systems at pH 7.6. A significant portion of Cr(VI) initially added to the feed solution was not readily recoverable in the effluent, indicating Cr(VI) reduction in columns, most probably catalyzed by surface-bound metal-oxides (e.g., Fe oxides) or dissolved metal ions such as Fe(II; III). The overall results suggest that EPS constituents such as glucuronic, galacturonic and alginic acids may play a significant role on Cr(VI) stabilization in subsurface systems under acidic to slightly alkaline pH conditions. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.