Turbidimetric Determination of Hydrocarbon Contamination in Passaic River Sediments and Refinery Polluted Soils
Mahmood Mahdi Barbooti
DOI: 10.4236/jep.2011.27104   PDF    HTML     6,809 Downloads   11,730 Views   Citations


A rapid method is described for the determination of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil samples. The method is based on the extraction of hydrocarbons by a solvent and the treatment of the solution with an aqueous solution of a surfactant to release the hydrocarbons to the water phase in the form of a stable emulsion. The emulsion is then utilized to measure the hydrocarbon content by turbidimetry. The effects of various operating parameters including the surfactant solution composition and time of extraction and time of mixing with the releasing solution are investigated. The stability of the emulsion was improved in acid environment containing and electrolyte. The turbidity values (T) were related with hydrocarbon concentration in the extract (C) by the following equation. Turbidity = 2.75 C + 205.7. With R2 = 0.9929. The soil hydrocarbon content (SHC) measured in µg/g can then be calculated using the formula: SHC = [Extract Vol. (mL) x C]/Sample Wt (g). The results correlated well with the results of total hydrocarbons in soils determined by standard methods. The method was applied for the estimation of hydrocarbons in Passaic river sediments taken from various locations and depths. For field work the method was used to supply data on the hydrocarbon contamination of soil samples taken within an oil refinery and a monitoring well drilled within heavy hydrocarbon waste dumping location.

Share and Cite:

M. Barbooti, "Turbidimetric Determination of Hydrocarbon Contamination in Passaic River Sediments and Refinery Polluted Soils," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 2 No. 7, 2011, pp. 915-922. doi: 10.4236/jep.2011.27104.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] L. C. Osuji and I. Nwoye, “An Appraisal of the impact of Petroleum Hydrocarbons on Soil Fertility: The Owaza Experience,” African Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 2, 2007, pp. 318-324.
[2] S. Kh. Chaerun, K. Tazaki, R. Asada and K. Kogure, “Interaction between Clay Minerals and Hydrocarbon-Utilizing Indigenous Microorganisms in High Concentrations of Heavy Oil: Implications for Bioremediation,” Clay Minerals, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2005, pp. 105-114. doi:10.1180/0009855054010159
[3] R. Sadle and D. Des Connell, “Determination of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Soil,” Proceedings of the Fifth National Workshop on the Assessment of Site Contamination, Adelaide, 2003, pp. 133-155.
[4] M. S. Patel, “Rapid and Convenient Laboratory Method for Extraction and Subsequent Spectrophotometric Determination of Bitumen Content of Bituminous Sands,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 46, No. 6, 1974, pp. 794-795. doi:10.1021/ac60342a021
[5] X. Zhang, “A Method for the Determination of Crude Petroleum Oil in Soil Using Tetrahydrofuran- Turbidimetric Method,” Huan Jing Ke Xue Journal Abstract, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1988, pp. 57-58.
[6] S. Kulichenko and G. Shevchenko, “Triton X-100-Stabilized “Oil-in-Water” Emulsions as Suitable Media for Alkalimetric Determination of Hydrophobic Organic Acids,” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 375, No. 2, 2003, pp. 255-258. doi:10.1007/s00216-002-1647-6
[7] S. Pastewski, E. Hallmann, and K. Medrzycka, “Physicochemical Aspects of the Application of Surfactants and Biosurfactants in Soil Remediation,” Environmental Engineering Science, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 579-588.
[8] M. M. Barbooti, A. S. Hamadi, A. Abdul-Razzaq and J. Hussain, “Environmental Site Assessment of Al-Daura Refinery—Evaluation of Soil Pollution with Petroleum Products,” Engineering & Technology, Vol. 28, 2010, pp. 6016-6028.
[9] T. D. Borrowman, E. R. Smith, J. Z. Gailani and L. Caviness, “Erodibility Study of Passaic River Sediments Using USACE Sedflume, Engineer Research and Development Center,” US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, 2006.
[10] N. M. Bujalski and M. A. Kruge, “Characterization of Contaminant and Biomass-Derived Organic Matter in Sediments from the Lower Passaic River, New Jersey, USA”, 2010. http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/pri/symposium2010/kruge_PRS2010.pdf
[11] Oil Industry Environmental Working Group, “Sampling Protocols and Analytical Methods for Determining Petroleum Products in Soil and Water,” Wellington, 1999.
[12] J. J. Oren, G. David and M. MacKay, “Electrolyte and pH Effect on Emulsion Stability of Water-in-Petroleum Oils,” Fuel, Vol. 56, No. 4, 1977, pp. 382-384. doi:10.1016/0016-2361(77)90062-X
[13] C. M. Chen, C. H. Lu, C. H. Chang, Y. M. Yang and. J. R. Maa, “Influence of pH on the Stability of Oil-in-Water Emulsions Stabilized by a Splittable Surfactant,” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Vol. 170, No. 2-3, 2000, pp. 173-179. doi:10.1016/S0927-7757(00)00480-5
[14] S. B. Friedman, T. N. Stewart and P. Mize, “Quantitative Test for Oils, Crude Oil, Hydrocarbon, or Other Contaminants in Soil and a Kit for Performing the Same,” US Patent 5679574, October 21, 1997.
[15] P. Oleszczuk and S. Baran, “Degradation of Individual Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Soil Polluted with Aircraft Fuel,” Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 12, 2003, pp. 431-437.
[16] O. Burkhan and I. M. Kolesnikov, “Characteristics of the Change in the Properties of Gasoline during Storage,” Chemistry and Technology of Fuels and Oils, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2007, pp. 290-292. doi:10.1007/s10553-007-0051-5
[17] S. J. Robertson, W. B. McGill, H. B. Massicotte and M. P. Rutherford, “Petroleum Hydrocarbon Contamination in Boreal Forest Soils: A Mycorrhizal Ecosystems Perspective,” Biological Reviews, Vol. 82, No. 2, 2007, pp. 213-240.
[18] R. G. Zytne, “Organic Compounds in Unsaturated Soil,” School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph 2007.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.