Ground Water Contamination from Creosote Sites


  • Ole Kiilerich,

    1. Ole Kiilerich is a consulting engineer at Kemp & Lauritzen Vand & Miljo A/S (Roskildevej 12, DK-2620 Albertslund, Denmark). He has an M.Sc. degree in civil engineering from The Technical University of Denmark. His consulting activities are related to ground water pollution and remediation of contaminated sites.
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  • Erik Arvin

    1. Erik Arvin is an associate professor (docent) at the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (Bldg. 115, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark). His primary research activity is biological processes degrading organic chemical contaminants in ground water, waste water, and waste gases. His current ground water research is related to transport and biodegradation of creosote compounds in fractured clayey till and sandstone.
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Field data from 44 waste sites contaminated with creosote have been compiled in a database. The data from each site included geological and hydrogeological parameters and the concentrations of creosote compounds in the ground water at various distances from the pollution sources. The creosote compounds that were measured included mononuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and phenols. Already 50 m down-gradient of the creosote waste sites, 90 percent of the concentrations were from three to 50 times lower than at the source, and most of the median concentrations were below detection limit (0.1 to 0.5 μg/L). The maximum concentrations of benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX) and phenols were much lower under aerobic than under anaerobic conditions. Among the phenols, the xylenols (dimethylphenols) appear in higher concentrations under aerobic conditions than phenol and the cresols do. The highest concentrations found were of the same order of magnitude as the calculated solubilities found in the literature, except the chrysene and benz(a)pyrene concentrations, which were one to two orders of magnitude higher than the solubilities.