The influence of NAPL distribution on the transport of PFOS in Co-contaminated media

Hanle Liu, Zhilin Guo, Yinxia Zhu, Sarah Van Glubt, Mark L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this research was to examine the influence of nonuniform NAPL distribution and hydraulic-conductivity heterogeneity on the retention and transport of PFAS. Two-dimensional flow cell experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of NAPL configuration on PFOS retention. Two simplified NAPL configurations were used, one with decane present as residual and the other with greater-than-residual (pool) NAPL saturation. The measured and predicted retardation factors were 1.7 and 1.6 for the residual-NAPL flow cell. The fractions of retention associated with solid-phase sorption, NAPL-water interfacial adsorption, and NAPL absorption were 0.56, 0.43, and 0.1, respectively. The measured retardation factor was 1.4 for the pool-NAPL flow cell. Notably, the predicted retardation factor assuming no contribution from NAPL-water interfacial adsorption was 1.5. Comparison of the two values indicates a minimal contribution of NAPL-water interfacial adsorption to transport, which is attributed to the impact of by-pass flow effects that limited contact of PFOS with the NAPL present within the pool. Mathematical-model simulations were conducted to examine the impact of heterogeneity on PFOS transport in model NAPL-contaminated heterogeneous source zones. The results demonstrated that the impact of NAPL-water interface adsorption on PFAS transport in NAPL-contaminated source zones can be influenced by the magnitude of hydraulic-conductivity heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132794
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024


  • Hydraulic accessibility
  • Interfacial adsorption
  • PFAS
  • Source zone configuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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