Behavior of alkylphenol polyethoxylate metabolites during soil aquifer treatment

John Montgomery-Brown, Jörg E. Drewes, Peter Fox, Martin Reinhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The attenuation of alkylphenol polyethoxylates (APEOs) metabolites was studied at a soil aquifer treatment (SAT) site located in Arizona, USA. Two parcels of water were monitored during infiltration; one parcel was predominantly oxic while the other was predominantly anoxic. In this study, only alkylphenol ethoxycarboxylates (APECs) and carboxyalkylphenol ethoxycarboxylates (CAPECs) were detected, no short-chained APEOs were observed - even under anoxic conditions. APEO metabolites were rapidly (<7 days) removed under both aerobic and anoxic conditions. In general, the length of the ethoxycarboxylate chain decreases with depth - at depths greater than 3 m, only alkylphenoxy acetic acids (AP1ECs), carboxyalkylphenoxy acetic acids (CAP1ECs), and alkylphenols (APs) remain. Under aerobic conditions, octylphenol and nonylphenol concentrations decreased by ∼80% (w/w) within 3m of the ground surface. Under anoxic conditions however, alkylphenol concentrations increased by ∼200% during the first 1.5m and then decreased during the next 1.5m; overall, under anoxic conditions, alkylphenol concentrations increased by ∼38% within 3m. During infiltration, APEC and CAPEC concentrations decrease by more than 95% within 3m of SAT. Alternate flooding and drying cycles appear to enhance overall APEO metabolite removal efficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3672-3681
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Alkylphenol ethoxycarboxylates (APECs)
  • Alkylphenol polyethoxylates (APEOs)
  • Biodegradation
  • Carboxylated alkylphenol polyethoxycarboxylates (CAPECs)
  • Nonylphenol (NP)
  • Soil aquifer treatment (SAT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Behavior of alkylphenol polyethoxylate metabolites during soil aquifer treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this