Contaminant Solubility

The solubility of a substance in water is defined as the saturated concentration of the substance in water at a given temperature and pressure. This parameter is important in the prediction of a contaminant plume in groundwater and in planning for its recovery. Substances with high water solubility have a tendency to remain dissolved in the water column, not adsorbed onto soil particles, and are more susceptible to biodegradation. Conversely, substances with low water solubility tend to adsorb onto soil particles and volatilize more readily from water. The water solubility of several substances is listed in Montgomery (1989). Several compounds, such as bulk hydrocarbons, are comprised of numerous individual chemicals and substances with different solubilities in water and different adsorption coeffi cients in soil. When these compounds are introduced in groundwater, they generate contaminant plumes with different shapes and rates of migration.

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