Publication - Complex substances aquatic risk assessment (CSARA)
15 Nov 2016

Predicting the sorption of fatty alcohols and alcohol ethoxylates to effluent and receiving water solids


Alcohol ethoxylates (AEs) are an important group of nonionic surfactants. Commercial AEs consist of a mixture of several homologues of varying carbon chain length (Cx) and degree of ethoxylation (EOy). The major disposal route of AE is down the drain to municipal wastewater treatment plants that discharge into receiving surface waters. Sorption of AE homologues onto activated sludge and river water solids is an important factor in assessing exposure of AE in the environment. This study presents the experimental determination of sorption coefficients for a wide array of AE homologues including five alcohols under environmentally relevant conditions and combines these data with literature data to generate a predictive model for the sorption of AEs in the environment. These results demonstrate that sorption can be effectively modeled using a logKd vs. Cx and EOy predictive equation having the form
log Kd ¼ 0:331C 0:00897EO 1:126ðR2 ¼ 0:64Þ.