Formation of PAH Derivatives and Increased Developmental Toxicity during Steam Enhanced Extraction Remediation of Creosote Contaminated Superfund Soil

Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Apr 16;53(8):4460-4469. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b07231. Epub 2019 Apr 8.


Steam enhanced extraction (SEE) is an in situ thermal remediation technique used to remove and recover polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from contaminated soils. However, limited studies have been conducted on the formation of PAH derivatives during and after SEE of PAH contaminated soils. Creosote contaminated soil samples collected from the Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor Superfund site were remediated with laboratory scale SEE. The samples were quantified for unsubstituted PAHs and their derivatives and assessed for developmental toxicity, pre- and post-SEE. Following SEE, unsubstituted PAH concentrations decreased, while oxygenated PAH concentrations increased in soil and aqueous extracts. Differences in developmental toxicity were also measured and linked to the formation of PAH derivatives. Additive toxicity was measured when comparing unfractionated extracts to fractionated extracts in pre- and post-SEE samples. SEE is effective in removing unsubstituted PAHs from contaminated soil, but other, potentially more toxic, PAH derivatives are formed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Creosote
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons*
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants*
  • Steam


  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Steam
  • Creosote