Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Cassidy

Second Advisor

Dr. Carla Koretsky

Third Advisor

Dr. Duane Hampton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


A soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) was treated in laboratory slurry reactors with three chemical oxidants: modified Fenton chemistry (MFC) with hydrogen peroxide, MFC with calcium peroxide, and sodium persulfate activated with Fe chelated using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Samples of slurry filtrate were tested to quantify emulsification of PAH and concentrations of bulk surfactants, using the critical micelle dilution method. All three oxidants produced surfactants reaching levels above the critical micelle concentration (CMC). The surfactants emulsified the PAH, and resulted in greater overall removal of 5- and 6-ring PAH than biodegradation alone. To characterize surfactants, samples of untreated and treated slurry were ran on a gas chromatographer/mass spectrometer (GC/MS). The surfactants were mostly benzoic acid with small amounts of alcohols and alkanes. The high molecular weight PAHs were degraded to less harmful compounds, however, low molecular weight PAHs such as naphthalene and anthracene, were not entirely degraded.

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