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A one-dimensional model of PCB fate in a three-phase sediment-water-air system has been developed. The model allows for various parameters to be varied, such as the thickness of the overlaying water and sediment layers and adsorption/desorption rates. A simple macrocosm of sediment, water and air that allowed for (pseudo) one-dimensional transport of PCB was established to conduct PCB transport studies using two PCB congeners: 4,4′-dichlorobiphenyl (DCB) and 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl (HCB). Several scenarios have been studied: volatilization of DCB from the water phase for three different levels (50, 100, 150 ml); and volatilization of DCB and HCB from aged contaminated sediments with no water layer, a thin water layer or a thick water layer on top. Results from these experiments showed that volatilization of PCBs from water was much faster than that from contaminated sediments. When sediments were covered with water, either a thin layer or thick layer, the rate of volatilization was slower than when they were not covered by water. The thicker the water layer, the slower the rate of volatilization. The results from these experiments were used to calibrate and validate the mathematical model, showing that model simulations were able to predict experimental results under these conditions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2000

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