A method of treating soil contamination by forming one or more zones of oxidized material in the path of percolating groundwater is disclosed. The zone or barrier region is formed by delivering an oxidizing agent into the ground for reaction with an existing soil component. The oxidizing agent modifies the existing soil component creating the oxidized zone. Subsequently when soil contaminates migrate into the zone, the oxidized material is available to react with the contaminates and degrade them into benign products. The existing soil component can be an oxidizable mineral such as manganese, and the oxidizing agent can be ozone gas or hydrogen peroxide. Soil contaminates can be volatile organic compounds. Oxidized barriers can be used single or in combination with other barriers.