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The major cations, anions, and detergents in a plume of contaminated groundwater at Otis Air Base on Cape Cod (Mass., U.S.A.) have moved approximately 3.5 km down gradient from the disposal beds. We hypothesize that the detergents form two distinct plumes, which consist of alkyl benzene sulfonates (ABS) detergents and linear alkyl sulfonates (LAS) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (NaLS) detergents. The ABS detergents were deposited from approximately 1940 through 1965, when ABS detergents were banned. From 1965 to the present, LAS and NaLS detergents were in the sewage. The ABS detergents appear to be transported in the aquifer at the same rate as the specific conductance (major cations and anions) and boron, which are currently used as conservative tracers of the plume of contaminated groundwater. There appears to be little or no biological degradation of the ABS detergents in the aquifer, based on their concentration in the plume. On the other hand, the LAS and NaLS detergents have degraded rapidly and have been detected only 0.6 km down gradient. The roleof the detergents in the transport of other organic compounds in the plume is nuclear. There is a separation of the ABS detergent plume and the volatile organic compound plume; however, the time of entry of the detergents and the volatile organic compounds is unknown. Therefore, it is not possible to conclude on the interaction of these two classes of compounds. ?? 1986.
Additional Publication Details
Movement and fate of detergents in groundwater: a field study