U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Environ. Sci. Technol. 1987, 21, 397-402


Single and binary solute sorption of pyridine, quinoline, and acridine has been investigated on two low organic carbon subsurface materials with similar properties but different equilibrium pH when saturated with water. Single solute sorption for all compounds is higher in the acidic soil as compared to the basic soil, reflecting stronger sorption of the protonated organic cations. The protonated species exhibit high selectivity for the exchange complex at low aqueous concentration with selectivity increasing with ring number. Binary sorption experiments with quinoline/pyridine and quinoline/acridine demonstrate that competitive sorption occurs between compounds in the acidic subsoil where the protonated compound species predominate in solution. In contrast, competition is minimal in the basic subsoil when the compounds are neutral. The competition between compounds is consistent with their measured single solute sorption and suggests mass action on a common set of high-affinity surface sites. A simplified model based on ideal adsorbed solution theory (IAS) is used to provide simulations of binary solute sorption that are in good qualitative agreement with experimental results. It is suggested that competition between ionized solutes may significantly influence transport of organic mixtures when the groundwater pH is near the pKa of the compounds.