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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Jan 30;185(2-3):1600-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.10.039. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

The fate and transport of RDX, HMX, TNT and DNT in the volcanic soils of Hawaii: a laboratory and modeling study.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States.


The adsorption and degradation behavior of RDX, HMX, TNT and DNT and the impact of pH, ionic strength and dissolved organic matter on sorption were examined for two volcanic soils of a former military training area on Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA. The transport of these chemicals in the soil was also studied in small packed columns and simulated using a water-flow and solute-transport model, HYDRUS_1D. The results show that HMX and RDX are both significantly more mobile than TNT and DNT. The adsorbability of the four chemicals was ranked as: RDX<HMX<TNT<DNT and their half-lives were ranked as: HMX>RDX>DNT>TNT. No significant trend was observed for the effect of ionic strength, pH and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on the adsorption of explosive compounds within the concentrations and pH ranges evaluated. The simulation results show that TNT and DNT would not leach beyond a depth of 30cm soil profile whereas a significant amount of HMX and RDX would pass the 30cm depth. It seems that the risk for contamination of groundwater is much higher for both HMX and RDX than for DNT and TNT as the substratum in this area consists of highly permeable lavas.

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