This report presents data on the sorption of trichloroethene (TCE) vapor to vadose-zone soil above a contaminated water-table aquifer at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, NJ. To assess the impact of moisture on TCE sorption, batch experiments on the sorption of TCE vapor by the field soil were carried out as a function of relative humidity. The TCE sorption decreases as soil moisture content increases from zero to saturation soil moisture content (the soil moisture content in equilibrium with 100% relative humidity). The moisture content of soil samples collected from the vadose zone was found to be greater than the saturation soil-moisture content, suggesting that adsorption of TCE by the mineral fraction of the vadose-zone soil should be minimal relative to the partition uptake by soil organic matter. Analyses of soil and soil-gas samples collected from the field indicate that the ratio of the concentration of TCE on the vadose-zone soil to its concentration in the soil gas is 1-3 orders of magnitude greater than the ratio predicted by using an assumption of equilibrium conditions. This apparent disequilibrium presumably results from the slow desorption of TCE from the organic matter of the vadose-zone soil relative to the dissipation of TCE vapor from the soil gas.
Additional publication details
Effect of soil moisture on the sorption of trichloroethene vapor to vadose-zone soil at picatinny arsenal, New Jersey