Partitioning of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Alkylphenols, Bisphenol A and Phthalates in Landfill Leachates and Stormwater.
Journal article, 2013

Partitioning of organic pollutants is essential to their fate, mobility and removal from water and soil. To study the partitioning behavior of selected alkylphenols, bisphenol A, phthalates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a method for separating the truly dissolved and colloidal phase of organic pollutants was developed, verified and applied to samples of landfill leachate and stormwater from urban areas and waste-sorting sites. Alkylphenols, bisphenol A, phthalates and PAHs were detected in all the untreated samples (total concentrations), most of the filtered samples and frequently in the colloid-bound phase. Concentrations of alkylphenols and PAHs in urban stormwater were one order of magnitude lower than in the landfill leachates and stormwater from waste-sorting sites. The difference between total, dissolved and colloid-bound concentrations in the water samples was not statistically significant for any phenols or phthalates, but for three of the PAHs; naphthalene (mostly dissolved), phenanthrene and fluoranthene (mostly particulate). These results indicate that in landfill leachates and stormwaters, organic pollutants are predominantly attached to colloids and/or truly dissolved in contrast to their expected strong sorption to particulate matter. Occurrence and concentrations of pollutants in dissolved and colloid-bound phases correlated negatively with the KOW. However, even highly hydrophobic compounds were frequently detected in filtered samples, i.e. the dissolved phases, and it is suggested that the organic content in the colloids decreases the compounds' partition to particles. The results confirm that the KOW values of specific organic pollutants well describe the compounds partition-binding process to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) colloids. Our findings call for a re-assessment of the organic pollutants' mobility and associated risks. This knowledge can also serve as a base for selecting efficient treatment methods for stormwater and landfill leachates.

Dissolved organic carbon



Organic pollutants


Landfill leachate



Yuliya Kalmykova

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Karin Björklund

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

FRIST competence centre

Ann-Margret Hvitt Strömvall

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

FRIST competence centre

Lena Blom

Water and Recycling Office of Gothenburg City

Water Research

0043-1354 (ISSN) 1879-2448 (eISSN)

Vol. 47 3 1317-1328

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering



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