Sorption of organic contaminants in a fractured chalk formation Academic Article uri icon


  • Sorption capability of bedrock components from a fractured chalk province was evaluated using ametryn, phenanthrene, m -xylene, 2,4,6-tribromophenol, and 1,2-dichloroethane. Sorption isotherms for the four aromatic compounds were nonlinear on gray (unoxidized) chalk. Over the studied solution ranges, the distribution coefficient decreased by factor of 3 for phenanthrene and m -xylene, a factor 4 for ametryn, and by an order of magnitude for 2,4,6-tribromophenol. In contrast, 1,2-dichloroethane displayed a linear isotherm. The importance of polar interactions for ametryn sorption was evaluated by normalizing sorption to an “inert” solvent, n -hexane. n -Hexane-normalized sorption of ametryn was much greater than that of phenanthrene, presumably due to ametryn participation in hydrogen bonding interactions. In sharp contrast to sorption to gray chalk, sorption to white (oxidized) chalk is 100- to 1000-fold lower at any given solution concentration. The much greater sorption on gray chalk cannot be explained by specific surface area, clay content, or organic matter content; thus, the nature of the organic matter is considered to control sorption in the chalk samples. Gray chalk sorption capacity estimates for ametryn and 2,4,6-tribromophenol are similar, which, together with evidence of competition for sorption sites, suggests that the limited capacity sorption domain for both compounds is similar.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001