Equilibrium and kinetic modeling of contaminant immobilization by activated carbon amended to sediments in the field

M.I. Rakowska, D. Kupryianchyk, A.A. Koelmans, J.T.C. Grotenhuis, H.H.M. Rijnaarts

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Addition of activated carbons (AC) to polluted sediments and soils is an attractive remediation technique aiming at reducing pore water concentrations of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs). In this study, we present (pseudo-)equilibrium as well as kinetic parameters for sorption of a series of PAHs and PCBs to powdered and granular activated carbons (AC) after three different sediment treatments: sediment mixed with powdered AC (PAC), sediment mixed with granular AC (GAC), and addition of GAC followed by 2 d mixing and subsequent removal ('sediment stripping'). Remediation efficiency was assessed by quantifying fluxes of PAHs towards SPME passive samplers inserted in the sediment top layer, which showed that the efficiency decreased in the order of PAC > GAC stripping > GAC addition. Sorption was very strong to PAC, with Log KAC (L/kg) values up to 10.5. Log KAC values for GAC ranged from 6.3-7.1 and 4.8-6.2 for PAHs and PCBs, respectively. Log KAC values for GAC in the stripped sediment were 7.4-8.6 and 5.8-7.7 for PAH and PCB. Apparent first order adsorption rate constants for GAC (kGAC) in the stripping scenario were calculated with a first-order kinetic model and ranged from 1.6 × 10-2 (PHE) to 1.7 × 10-5 d-1 (InP). Sorption affinity parameters did not change within 9 months post treatment, confirming the longer term effectiveness of AC in field applications for PAC and GAC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-104
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • water bottoms
  • contaminated sediments
  • activated carbon
  • polycyclic hydrocarbons
  • polycyclic aromatic-hydrocarbons
  • polychlorinated biphenyl sorption
  • dissolved organic-matter
  • marine sediment
  • partition-coefficients
  • aqueous solubilities
  • black carbon
  • amendment
  • polyoxymethylene
  • remediation

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