Cleanup of contaminated soils to comply with soil quality limits currently receives much interest.In-situ remediation of contaminated soils relies on the ability of the techniques employed to enhance the rate of release of contaminants from the soil-sorbed and nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) phases into the aqueous or gaseous phases from which they can be more readily removed and treated. Contaminant concentrations in these “environmentally mobile” forms usually decline over time so that the economic efficiency and the overall success of remediation technologies are subject to the “law of diminishing returns”. In this paper we consider the “state of the art” in our understanding of NAPL dissolution and transport, desorption of soilsorbed contaminants and fluid flow in porous media. The extent to which these processes may constrain the success of bioremediation, pump-and-treat remediation and soil venting in relation to established soil quality limits is addressed. Finally, we suggest directions for future research and comment on legislative considerations.