FURI | Spring 2020

Facilitated Transport of Contaminants by Microplastics in Soil Media

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Microplastics (MPs) have become emerging pollutants on agricultural land, where they occur in soils due to the degradation of plastic mulches. The ability of MPs to adsorb organic and heavy metal pollutants may facilitate the transport of these co-existing contaminants. This study investigates the effects of MPs in lead and atrazine mobilization in packed columns under flow conditions. The concentration of contaminants in effluent was monitored, as was the movement of MPs through the porous media (i.e., glass beads). The results will help us better understand the negative impact of MPs pollution on groundwater quality through soil filtration.

Student researcher

William Andrew Ederer

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2022