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Measurement and Modeling of Activated Carbon Performance for the Sequestration of Parent- and Alkylated-Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Petroleum-Impacted Sediments

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2013, 00:00 by Yongju Choi, Yeo-Myoung Cho, William R. Gala, Richard G. Luthy
We present a first comprehensive set of experiments that demonstrate the performance of activated carbon (AC) to reduce the availability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) including alkylated-PAHs in petroleum-impacted sediments. The uptake in polyethylene samplers for total PAHs in a well-mixed sediment slurry was reduced up to 99% and 98% for petroleum-impacted sediments with oil contents of 1% and 2%, respectively, by treatment with 5% AC. The AC showed similar efficiency for parent-PAHs and a suite of alkylated-PAHs, which predominate over parent-PAHs in petroleum-impacted sediments. A mass transfer model was used to simulate the AC performance in a slurry phase with site-specific mass transfer parameters determined in this study. Comparison between the experimental data and simulation results suggested that dissolved organic matter and/or oil phase may have attenuated the AC performance by a factor of 5–6 for 75–300 μm AC with 5% dose at one month. The attenuation in AC performance became negligible with increase in AC–sediment slurry contact time to 12 months and with decrease in AC particle size. The results show the potential for AC amendment to sequester PAHs in petroleum-impacted sediments and the effect of contact time and AC particle size on the efficiency of the treatment.