Effects of Organic Compounds on the Adsorption and Desorption of Metals in Soils

by Stuart J. Bailey, Weston & Sampson Engineers, Wakefield, MA, USA,
James C. O'Shaughnessy, Weston & Sampson Engineers, Wakefield, MA, USA,
Frederic C. Blanc, Weston & Sampson Engineers, Wakefield, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering


This study evaluated the adsorption and release rates of toxic metals in a soil system also impacted with organic compounds. The soil type studied is common to hazardous waste sites throughout the Northeastern United States. The soil used in this study, Typic Hapladult, also enabled comparison of results from other studies. Five heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni, and Zn) which are frequently found at hazardous waste sites were selected for this study. The selection of the organic compounds used was also based upon frequency of occurrence at hazardous waste sites. Hydrophobic organics, slightly water soluble organics, and hydrophilic organics were chosen. The adsorption isotherms were studied. The organic contaminants reduced the amount of metal adsorbed by the soil system, when compared to an organic free metal-soil system. The overall reduction in adsorptive capacities ranged from 40 to 95 percent. The organic compounds did not significantly affect the ability of EDTA to remove metals from the soils. In addition the removal rates for Pb, Zn, and Ni were increased by the presence of organic compounds.

Subject Headings: Soil pollution | Adsorption | Waste sites | Organic compounds | Occupational safety | Hazardous wastes | Hazardous substances | United States

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