The effects of soil micro-particles and micro-pores on the release of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were investigated using long-term weathered, TPH-contaminated soil samples. The TPH concentrations were analyzed using various extraction schemes (i.e., total extraction, weak extraction, solvent extraction with or without ultrasound). The particle size distribution (<2 mm, 0.063–2 mm, <0.063 mm), micro-pore volume (<0.38 mm), and TPH fraction (C8–14, C16–28, C30–40) of selected samples were also determined to better understand the factors controlling TPH release from contaminated soils. TPH concentrations varied greatly among different fractions of each soil sample, but were highest in the micro-fraction (<0.063 mm) of each sample. In weathered soil samples, TPH was not only weakly or strongly adsorbed on soil particles, but also trapped in soil micro-pores. Moreover, heavier fractions of TPH were released slowly and lesser extent from contaminated soils. Results showed that the solvent extraction method with and without ultrasound could be used to assess relative binding strength of TPH to contaminated soils. These findings imply that to achieve a remediation goal, some contaminated soils require only relatively mild extraction with solvent, but soils with TPH trapped in micro-pores require physical destruction along with chemical extraction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modelling
- Water Science and Technology