Removal of aqueous-phase polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons using aspen wood fibers

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Roadway runoff derived polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) impact the quality of surface and ground water. Inexpensive aspen wood fibers have been investigated as a means to remove dissolved PAH under laboratory conditions. Our isotherm experiments demonstrated that the uptake of naphthalene, fluorene, anthracene, and pyrene required up to 12.5 days to reach equilibrium. Aspen wood-water sorption coefficients, Kww, were linearly correlated to octanol-water partition coefficients and the molecular weight of the studied PAH compounds. The correlation between Kww and molecular weight was the most significant. Column experiments were carried out to study the sorption and desorption of fluorene, anthracene, and pyrene under dynamic conditions. The results indicate linear sorption, but non-linear desorption behavior. The degree of desorption was inversely correlated to a compound's hydrophobicity. Flow interruption experiments showed that sorption and desorption was rate limited. A mass balance of the sorption and desorption tests indicated that sorptive uptake exceeded desorptive release over a given number of pore volumes. Further, absolute mass-removal efficiency increased with the molecular weight and hydrophobicity of the PAH compound. Batch and column studies demonstrated that aspen wood has the potential to become an effective remedial agent for PAH in stormwater runoff or other PAH contaminated waters. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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