Organic Contaminants

The physicochemical reactions that can alter the concentration of an organic contaminant in groundwater can be grouped into five categories as suggested by Arthur D. Little (1976) and Rao and Jessup (1982). These categories include (1) hydrolysis of the contaminant in water, (2) oxidation-reduction, (3) biodegradation of the contaminant by microorganisms, (4) adsorption of the contaminant by the soil, and (5) volatilization of the contaminant to the air present in the unsaturated zone. The relative importance of each of these reactions depends on the physical and chemical characteristics of the contaminant and on the specific conditions of the subsurface environment.

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