Contamination of soil, sediment and groundwater by hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) is a matter of growing concern because groundwater is a valuable and limited resource, and because such contamination is difficult to address. This investigation involved an experimental evaluation of the addition of several surfactant solutions to aqueous and soil-water systems contaminated with phenanthrene, a selected HOC. The results are presented in terms of:
* phenanthrene solubilization achieved through surfactant addition
* observed effects of surfactant addition on the mineralization of phenanthrene
* estimation of relative toxicities of various surfactants using toxicity assays
* literature-reported biodegradability/persistence of selected surfactants
* surfactant sorption/precipitation onto soil and its impacts on proposed use of surfactant-amended remediation
Surfactants were observed to facilitate the transfer of phenanthrene from the soil-sorbed phase to the aqueous pseudophase, however, surfactant solubilization did not translate into enhanced phenanthrene biodegradation.