Extraction of PCBs and water from river sediment using liquefied dimethyl ether as an extractant.

PMID 20044120


We investigated whether polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and water could be simultaneously removed from river sediment by solvent extraction using liquefied dimethyl ether (DME) as the extractant. DME exists in a gaseous state at normal temperature and pressure and can dissolve organic substances and some amount of water; therefore, liquefied DME under moderate pressure (0.6-0.8 MPa) at room temperature can be effectively used to extract PCBs and water from contaminated sediment, and it can be recovered from the extract and reused easily. First, we evaluated the PCB and water extraction characteristics of DME from contaminated sediment. We found that 99% of PCBs and 97% of water were simultaneously extracted from the sediment using liquefied DME at an extraction time of 4320 s and a liquefied DME/sediment ratio of 60 mL g(-1). The extraction rate of PCBs and water was expressed in terms of a pseudo-first-order reaction rate. Second, we estimated the amount of DME that was recovered after extraction. We found that 91-92% of DME could be recovered. In other words, approximately 5-10% of DME was lost during extraction and recovery. It is necessary to optimize this process in order to recover DME efficiently. The extraction efficiency of the recovered DME is similar to that of the pure DME. From the results, we conclude that solvent extraction using liquefied DME is suitable for extracting PCBs and water from contaminated sediment.