Oxidation of Recalcitrant Organics in Subsurface Systems

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Hazardous Waste & Hazardous Materials

Publication Date



Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.




In contrast to remedial techniques for contaminated subsurface systems that simply transfer hazardous wastes from one part of the environment to another (e.g., off-site landfilling), in-situ transformation (to less hazardous products) or destruction of recalcitrant organics may offer a safe and cost effective solution. Biochemical and chemical biotic/abiotic immobilization and detoxification of recalcitrant organics, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), associated with soil humification is a process that may serve as a basis for in-situ treatment of soils contaminated with wood-preserving or oily wastes. This paper addresses the potential for recalcitrant organic immobilization/humification as influenced by enzymatic (biotic) and metallic (abiotic) catalysis. Chemical stoichiometry and kinetic information are presented for abiotic catalysis of the PAH intermediate naphthalenediol using manganese. A simple model is presented for investigating the reductive-dissolution/auto-oxidation of manganese and the potential polymerization of naphthalenediol as influenced by manganese chemistry, and an illustrative experiment is presented demonstrating the near complete oxidation of 2,3-naphthalenediol by manganese oxide particles.


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