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The Effect of Metallic Ions on Trichloroethylene Degradation in Soils

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Final rept. 10 Apr 1998-10 Apr 1999

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Heavy use of environmental contaminants over the past century has led to the accumulation of large quantities of pollutants in the soil system and water supplies. Trichloroethylene, a non-flammable colorless industrial solvent, has been shown to be among the most difficult to remove from the environment. It has been found in no less than 852 of 1430 National Priorities Environmental Contamination Sites identified in a report by the Environmental protection Agency. Some data has suggested that TCEs half-life in soil can be as long as 8,460 hours approximately 1 years time or as long as 39,672 hours 4.5 years time if not treated. Health professionals have long noticed the side effect of short-term inhalation of TCE include dizziness, headaches, slowed reaction time, sleepiness and facial numbness. Along with these health concerns many current reports have suggested a relationship between the use of TCE and cancer formation. Recent advances in technology have lead to the development of new mechanisms to identify the location of trichloroethylene spills and to increase the rate for degradation of trichloroethylene. Several studies have shown that metallic ions can act as catalysts in the degradation of chlorinated solvents by chemical oxidation. One such study was performed by Doong and Wu of National Taiwan University. Their results showed an 84 drop in aqueous carbon tetrachloride content in 33 days. Another study, performed by M. Lisa Imrogno, showed that soil samples that contained high metal concentrations showed an increase in degradation of TCE. These studies led to the question- Which individual metals are most effective as a catalyst in the degradation of TCE A variety of metals were tested including Chromium, Zinc, Manganese and Iron. These results suggest than zincII and chromiumIII better catalyzed TCEs dechlorination. These results are in contradiction to other observed. IronIII and manganeseII did not appear to have a significant effect.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control

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