Evaluating organic compound sorption to several materials to assess their potential as amendments to improve in-situ capping of contaminated sediments
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Contaminated sediments represent a common environmental problem because they can sequester large quantities of contaminants which can remain long after the source of pollution has been removed. From the sediment these hazardous compounds are released into the sediment porewater where it can partition into organisms in the sediment and bioaccumulate up the food web; leading to an ecological and human health concern. The objective of this work is to investigate an emerging option in contaminated sediment remediation; specifically an option for in-situ treatment known as active capping. Conventional capping uses clean sediment or sands to separate contaminated sediment from overlying water and biota. Active capping is the use of a sorptive amendment to such a cap to improve its effectiveness. This work focuses on granular materials as direct amendments to conventional caps including; granular activated carbon (GAC), iron/palladium amended GAC, alumina pillared clay, rice husk char, and organically modified clays. All materials were investigated in batch sorption tests of benzene, chlorobenzene, and naphthalene in DI water. Additionally porewaters from three sites were extruded and the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured. At Manistique Harbor and Ottawa River PCBs were identified as the primary contaminant of concern while PAHs were the contaminant of concern at the Grand Calumet River. At these sites a solvent extraction method was used to analyze the sediment concentrations of the contaminants of concern. From the former batch tests activated carbon and a commercially available organoclay were chosen for further investigation. This includes PAHs in batch sorption tests using extruded sediment porewater to investigate matrix effects, and PCB sorption in distilled water.