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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Nov 15;35(22):4569-76.

Factors controlling alkylbenzene sorption to municipal solid waste.

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Department of Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7908, USA.


The sorption of toluene and o-xylene to individual municipal solid waste (MSW) constituents [office paper, newsprint, model food and yard waste, high density polyethylene, and poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC)] was evaluated. Effects of sorbent decomposition and solvent composition on alkylbenzene sorption were studied by evaluating biodegradable sorbents in both fresh and anaerobically decomposed form and by complementing single-solute isotherm tests with experiments conducted in acidogenic and methanogenic leachate. Alkylbenzene sorption to plastics was greaterthan to biopolymer composites, and differences in sorbate/sorbent solubility parameter compatibility explained this observation. Alkylbenzene sorption to biopolymer composites yielded linear isotherms, and sorption capacities [log(Koc/Kow)] decreased linearly with increasing sorbent polarity as expressed by the O-alkyl/alkyl ratio. Leachate composition had little effect on alkylbenzene sorption with one exception; volatile fatty acids in acidogenic leachate appeared to convert PVC from a glassy to a rubbery polymer. The results of this study showed that sorbent organic matter affinity for hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) increases with increasing extent of MSW decomposition because of the recalcitrance of plastics and the preferential degradation of polar biopolymers. Furthermore, the plasticizing effect of volatile fatty acids in acidogenic leachate may enhance the bioavailability of HOCs sorbed to glassy organic matter in MSW or in soils contaminated with acidogenic leachate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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