Conventional onsite wastewater treatment system design relies on a septic tank and soil treatment unit (STU) for treatment of wastewater and integration of the final effluent into the environment. Organic water contaminants (OWCs), chemicals found in pharmaceutical drugs, detergents, surfactants, and other personal care and cleaning products, have been observed in septic tank effluent and the environment. Sorption of OWC mass to soil is a key mechanism in the removal and retardation of many of these chemicals in effluent as it travels through an STU. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the fraction of organic carbon of soil and the equilibrium sorption partitioning coefficient of a selected group of relevant and diverse OWCs. A secondary goal is to evaluate current methods of modeling the sorption of selected OWCs in soil. Five point Freundlich isotherms were constructed from equilibrium sorption batch tests for target OWCs with four different soils. For soils with organic carbon fraction between 0.021 and 0.054, Kd
values were calculated between 60 and 185 for 4-nonylphenol, 75 to 260 for triclosan, 115 to 270 for bisphenol-A, 3 to 255 for 17β-estradiol, 40 to 55 for 17α-ethynylestradiol, and 28 to 70 for estrone. An empirically derived, direct relationship between foc
may be a useful approach to estimating sorption for a soil based on organic carbon content.