Sorption of triclosan on three sorbents, viz., activated carbon, kaolinite and montmorillonite was studied as a function of pH, ionic strength and humic acid (HA) concentration through controlled batch experiments. Triclosan sorption was found to be higher in the acidic pH range, as varying pH showed significant influence on the surface charge of the sorbents and degree of ionization of the sorbate. Sorption capacity of the sorbents increased with an increase in the ionic strength of solution. At low pH (pH 3), the overall increase in triclosan sorption was 1.2, approximately 4 and 3.5 times, respectively for activated carbon, kaolinite and montmorillonite when ionic strength was increased from 1x10(-3) to 5x10(-1) M. Triclosan sorption onto activated carbon decreased from 31.4 to 10.6 mg g(-1) by increasing the HA concentration to 200 mg C L(-1). However, during sorption onto kaolinite and montmorillonite, the effect of HA was very complex probably due to (i) hydrophobicity (log K(ow)=4.76) of triclosan; and (ii) complexation of HA with triclosan. Though triclosan sorption onto activated carbon is higher, the potential of kaolinite and montmorillonite in controlling the transport of triclosan in subsurface environment can still be appreciable.
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