Transport of creosote compounds in a large, intact, macroporous clayey till column

Kim Broholm, Peter R. Jørgensen, Asger B. Hansen, Erik Arvin, Martin Hansen

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The transport in macroporous clayey till of bromide and 25 organic compounds typical of creosote was studied using a large intact soil column. The organic compounds represented the following groups: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenolic compounds, monoaromatic hydrocarbons (BTEXs), and heterocyclic compounds containing oxygen, nitrogen or sulphur in the aromatic ring structure (NSO-compounds). The clayey till column (0.5 m in height and 0.5 m in diameter) was obtained from a depth of 1-1.5 m at an experimental site located on the island of Funen, Denmark. Sodium azide was added to the influent water of the column to prevent biodegradation of the studied organic compounds. For the first 24 days of the experiment, the flow rate was 219 ml day-1 corresponding to an infiltration rate of 0.0011 m day-1. At this flow rate, the effluent concentrations of bromide and the organic compounds increased very slowly. The transport of bromide and the organic compounds were successfully increased by increasing the flow rate to 1353 ml day-1 corresponding to 0.0069 m day-1. The experiment showed that the transport of low-molecular-weight organic compounds was not retarded relative to bromide. The high-molecular-weight organic compounds were retarded significantly. The influence of sorption on the transport of the organic compounds through the column was evaluated based on the observed breakthrough curves. The observed order in the column experiment was, with increasing retardation, the following: benzene=pyrrole=toluene=o-xylene=p-xylene=ethylbenzene=phenol=benzothiophene=benzofuran<naphthalene<1-methylpyrrole<1-methylnaphthalene=indole=o-cresol=quinoline<3,5-dimethylphenol=2,4-dimethylphenol<acridine<carbazole<2-methylquinoline<fluorene<dibenzofuran<phenanthrene=dibenzothiophene. This order could not be predicted from regularly characteristics as octanol/water-distribution coefficients of the organic compounds but only from experimentally determined data. The results indicate that a thin clayey till cover of the type described in this paper does not protect groundwater against contamination by low-molecular-weight organic compounds. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-329
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 1999


  • Biopores
  • Clayey till
  • Coal tar
  • Column experiment
  • Creosote
  • Migration
  • Transport

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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