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Sequestration of hydrophobic organic contaminants by geosorbents

Environmental Science & Technology

By:
, ORCID iD , , , , , , , , and
https://doi.org/10.1021/es970512m

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Abstract

The chemical interactions of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) with soils and sediments (geosorbents) may result in strong binding and slow subsequent release rates that significantly affect remediation rates and endpoints. The underlying physical and chemical phenomena potentially responsible for this apparent sequestration of HOCs by geosorbents are not well understood. This challenges our concepts for assessing exposure and toxicity and for setting environmental quality criteria. Currently there are no direct observational data revealing the molecular-scale locations in which nonpolar organic compounds accumulate when associated with natural soils or sediments. Hence macroscopic observations are used to make inferences about sorption mechanisms and the chemical factors affecting the sequestration of HOCs by geosorbents. Recent observations suggest that HOC interactions with geosorbents comprise different inorganic and organic surfaces and matrices, and distinctions may be drawn along these lines, particularly with regard to the roles of inorganic micropores, natural sorbent organic matter components, combustion residue particulate carbon, and spilled organic liquids. Certain manipulations of sorbates or sorbent media may help reveal sorption mechanisms, but mixed sorption phenomena complicate the interpretation of macroscopic data regarding diffusion of HOCs into and out of different matrices and the hysteretic sorption and aging effects commonly observed for geosorbents. Analytical characterizations at the microscale, and mechanistic models derived therefrom, are needed to advance scientific knowledge of HOC sequestration, release, and environmental risk.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Sequestration of hydrophobic organic contaminants by geosorbents
Series title:
Environmental Science & Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es970512m
Volume:
31
Issue:
12
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s):
Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description:
7 p.
First page:
3341
Last page:
3347