Joint 56th Annual North-Central/ 71st Annual Southeastern Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 9-34
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


NEIDICH, Beau, WHITE, Cole, ADLER, Dylan and DEVRIES, Stephanie, Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403

Microplastic contamination has become an environmental and public health concern as the use of plastics increases. The risks are unresolved, in part, due to the poor understanding of the transport behavior of microplastics. Understanding the transport of microplastics through terrestrial systems is key in determining the movement and fate of microplastics. We will present results of column experiments conducted to quantify transport properties of polystyrene microbeads through quartz sand media. Influent was prepared with 10-micron fluorescent microbeads and 0.1 mM chloride and either (1) injected into the base of the column or (2) continually delivered to the base of the column for up to 10 pore volumes. Effluent fractions were analyzed using fluorescence spectroscopy and ion chromatography and modeled with Hydrus 1D. The results show that polystyrene is retarded by solid-phase sorption reactions. We hypothesize that the polystyrene spheres will be most effectively transported through well-sorted, coarse-grained media.