Experimental studies to determine the fate of petroleum hydrocarbons from refinery effluent on an estuarine system Academic Article uri icon


  • Laboratory experiments were undertaken to investigate the biological and physical fates of refinery effluent once discharged to Southampton Water estuary. Refinery effluent was incubated in glass containers and processes such as biodegradation, evaporation and bubble ejection, and adsorption of hydrocarbons by estuarine sediments were investigated. The most important removal mechanism within the time scale of the estuarine system appears to be adsorption of petroleum hydrocarbons to estuarine sediments. In the experimental systems, 70% of the hydrocarbons originally in the water column were found in the sediments after 1 h. The rate-determining factor appears to be initial concentration of the starting material. Compounds of high water solubility are adsorbed to a lesser extent than the less soluble compounds. 1982, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Environmental Science & Technology

author list (cited authors)

  • Knap, A. H., & Williams, P.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Knap, Anthony H||Williams, Peter JL

publication date

  • January 1982