Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM


RIZZUTI, Anthony M.1, COHEN, Arthur D.2 and NGUYEN, Dung Duc1, (1)Department of Chemistry, Claflin University, 400 Magnolia St, Orangeburg, SC 29115, (2)Geological Sciences, Univ of South Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208,

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), the most common fuel additive used to oxygenate gasoline, is being detected more frequently in drinking water supplies. This research investigates the capacities of different highly characterized peats to extract MTBE from contaminated water. Peat samples were slurried under controlled conditions in aqueous solutions of MTBE for 24 hours. Liquid portions of the samples were analyzed for MTBE concentrations using a GC/MS Solid-phase Microextraction (GC/MS-SPME) method and were compared to samples of the MTBE solution (without peat addition) to determine the peats' MTBE sorption capacities. The GC/MS-SPME results indicate that all tested peats worked well at sorbing MTBE from an aqueous solution. Although this was so, some peats tended to work better than others. The Loxahatchee Nymphaea and the Maine Sphagnum peats worked best at sorbing the MTBE (at 92 and 88% MTBE reductions, respectively), while the Okefenokee Taxodium and the New York peats did not work as well at sorbing the MTBE (at 50 and 47% MTBE reductions, respectively). Overall, the peats that were the most effective at extracting MTBE from water tended to have higher hydraulic conductivities, microporosities, macroporosities, total porosities, and water holding capacities, but lower bulk densities, ash contents, Ti contents, P contents, Si contents, K contents, fulvic acids contents, and total other ketones contents. Peats with higher MTBE extraction capacities also had humic acids contents between 4.6-7.1%. These results suggest that peats could possibly be used as filtration, or sorption, media to remediate surface water or groundwater that is contaminated with MTBE.