Humic acids (HA) are promising green materials for water and wastewater treatment. They show a strong ability to sorb cationic and hydrophobic organic pollutants. Cationic compounds interact mainly by electrostatic interaction with the deprotonated carboxylic groups of HA. Other functional groups of HA such as quinones, may form covalent bonds with aromatic ammines or similar organic compounds. Computational and experimental works show that the interaction of HA with hydrophobic organics is mainly due to π–π interactions, hydrophobic effect and hydrogen bonding. Several works report that sorbing efficiency is related to the hydrophobicity of the sorbate. Papers about the interaction between organic pollutants and humic acids dissolved in solution, in the solid state and adsorbed onto solid particles, like aluminosilicates and magnetic materials, are reviewed and discussed. A short discussion of the thermodynamics and kinetics of the sorption process, with indication of the main mistakes reported in literature, is also given.
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