Document Type


Publication Date

January 1989


Accurate assessment of the potential for contaminated soil remediation requires detailed knowledge of the fate of waste constituents within the soil environment. For many non-biodegradable organics compounds, photochemical degradation may provide a potential pathway for the removal of such compounds from soil surfaces. A study was conducted to evaluate the rate of photodegradation of ten hazardous organic compounds from three soils, silica gel, and four soil minerals (kaolinite, montmorillonite, illite, and calcite) under conditions of controlled irradiation. In addition, the effect of siz amendment treatments (methylene blue, riboflavin, hydrogen peroxide, diethylamine, peat moss, and silica gel) on the rates of compound loss was also investigated. Soil and mineral samples were spiked with various combinations of m-cresol, quinoline, biphenyl, dibenzo[a]furan, fluorene, pentachlorophenol, phenanthrene, anthracene, 9H-carbazole and pyrene at either 500 or 1000 mg/kg initial soil concentration of each chemical. Amendments were applied to the soils and minerals and duplicate samples were irradiated in petri dishes under ultraviolet or visible light while spike controls were inclubated in the dark. Linear regression of soil/mineral contaminant concentration data showed that first order kinetic modeling best described the degradation process. Significant loss of anthracene occurred on all surfaces tested althrough the rate of loss varied with surface type and, for some surfaces, with the spiking solution concentration and chemical mixtures. Anthracene loss from silica gel was the msot rapid of all reactions observed. Skumpah soil, a light colored alkaline soil, yielded the greatest reduction in contaminant concentrations found in the soil studies. Calcium kaolinite displaed the most rapid kinetics of the mineral surfaces tested. Loss of the other test compounds was observed from only some of the surfaces investigated. Anthraquinone and fluorenone were identified as the major degradation products of the photoreaction of anthracene and fluorene. Under the conditions of this study, soild and mineral type, as well as surface renewal via mixing, were found to have more effect on degradation rates than any of the amendments that were tested.