Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1997

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Hsin Neng Hsieh

Second Advisor

Sudhi Mukherjee

Third Advisor

Dorairaja Raghu


Many organic compounds, that enter aquatic systems have a strong tendency to sorb onto particulate matter which may be present in suspension or as sediment. Numerous studies have shown that the sediment in aquatic systems concentrate contaminants several orders of magnitude greater than the concentration in the aqueous phase. Particulate associated contaminants in sediments are not easily bioavailable. Hence the efficacy of any treatment technology would be strongly undermined if the contaminants are not made available for microbial utilization. Sediment associated contaminants can be made biologically available to various microorganisms under certain conditions.

In this study, desorption studies were conducted by sonicating contaminated sediment obtained from Newton Creek in New York. After the sediment was characterized, experiments were conducted at various sonication energies and durations. Results indicate that sonication of the sediment suspensions significantly enhanced the release of organic matter into the soluble phase. Since microorganisms utilize organic matter only in the soluble phase, the rate and extent of biodegradation of organic matter can be consequently improved.



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