Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) particles are efficient for the remediation of aquifers polluted by trichloroethylene (TCE). But for on-site applications, their reactivity can be affected by the presence of common inorganic co-pollutants, which are equally reduced by nZVI particles. The aim of this study was to assess the potential positive effects of nZVI surface modification and concentration level on TCE removal in the concomitant presence of two strong oxidants, i.e., Cr(VI) and NO. A design of experiments, testing four factors (i.e. nZVI concentration, nZVI surface modification, Cr(VI) concentration and NO3- concentration), was used to select the best trials for the identification of the main effects of the factors and of the factors interactions. The effects of these factors were studied by measuring the following responses: TCE removal rates at different times, degradation kinetic rates, and the transformation products formed. As expected, TCE degradation was delayed or inhibited in most of the experiments, due to the presence of inorganics. The negative effects of co-pollutants can be palliated by combining surface modification with a slight increase in nZVI concentration. Encouragingly, complete TCE removal was achieved for some given experimental conditions. Noteworthily, nZVI surface modification was found to promote the efficient degradation of TCE. When degradation occurred, TCE was mainly transformed into innocuous non-chlorinated transformation products, while hazardous chlorinated transformation products accounted for a small percentage of the mass-balance. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.