The identification and characterization of carbonaceous materials (CMs) that control hydrophobic organic chemical (HOC) sorption is essential to predict the fate and transport of HOCs in soils and sediments. The objectives of this paper are to determine the types of CMs that control HOC sorption in the oxidized and reduced zones of a glacially deposited groundwater sediment in central Illinois, with a special emphasis on the roles of kerogen and black carbon. After collection, the sediments were treated to obtain fractions of the sediment samples enriched in different types of CMs (e.g., humic acid, kerogen, black carbon), and selected fractions were subject to quantitative petrographic analysis. The original sediments and their enrichment fractions were evaluated for their ability to sorb trichloroethene (TCE), a common groundwater pollutant. Isotherm results and mass fractions of CM enrichments were used to calculate sorption contributions of different CMs. The results indicate that CMs in the heavy fractions dominate sorption because of their greater mass. Black carbon mass fractions of total CMs in the reduced sediments were calculated and used to estimate the sorption contribution of these materials. Results indicate that in the reduced sediments, black carbon may sequester as much as 32% of the sorbed TCE mass, but that kerogen and humin are the dominant sorption environments. Organic carbon normalized sorption coefficients (KOC) were compared to literature values. Values for the central Illinois sediments are relatively large and in the range of values determined for materials high in kerogen and humin. This work demonstrates the advantage of using both sequential chemical treatment and petrographic analysis to analyze the sorption contributions of different CMs in natural soils and sediments, and the importance of sorption to natural geopolymers in groundwater sediments not impacted by anthropogenic sources of black carbon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry