Investigation of hydrophobic organic carbon (HOC) partitioning to 1 kDa fractionated municipal wastewater colloids.

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Environmental science & technology, ISSN: 1520-5851, Vol: 47, Issue: 6, Page: 2548-53

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McPhedran, Kerry N; Seth, Rajesh; Drouillard, Ken G
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Chemistry; Environmental Science
article description
Natural organic matter from the aquatic environment passing a 1 kDa filter has been hypothesized to not contribute appreciably to hydrophobic organic compound (HOC) partitioning; however, to our knowledge this limit has not been verified experimentally for any sorbate/sorbent system. Presently, colloidal organic carbon (COC) < 1 kDa approached 70% of the total COC (<1.5 μm) mass in primary effluent (PE) from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Partitioning of HOCs 1,2,4,5-tetrachlorobenzene, pentachlorobenzene, and hexachlorobenzene to COC for both 1.5 μm and 1 kDa filtrates of PE was investigated using the gas-stripping technique. Contrary to the hypothesis, significant HOC-COC partitioning to the 1 kDa filtrate was observed with organic carbon-normalized partitioning coefficients (logKCOC) of 4.30, 4.36, and 3.74 for 1,2,4,5-TeCB, PeCB, and HCB, respectively. Further, partitioning to COC < 1 kDa dominated the overall partitioning of the three chlorobenzenes in the 1.5 μm filtrate, and the partitioning behavior did not follow the trend based on hydrophobicity (KOW). The results show that significant partitioning of HOC may occur to OC < 1 kDa and highlights the need for further experiments with other HOCs and COC characterization to better understand and explain the observed partitioning.