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Research Projects
Contaminant Sorption of Scrap Tire Rubber

There are many cases where water quality is threatened by contaminants present in soils, stormwater runoff, sediments, landfill leachate, and groundwater. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Sediment Quality Survey, 29.3% of the sampling stations in South Carolina indicated that adverse effects on aquatic life or human health associated with contaminated sediments are probable, while an additional 37.8% indicated possible adverse effects. The most common nonpoint source (NPS) pollutants in South Carolina are fecal coliform bacteria, phosphorous and nitrogen, pesticides, oil and grease, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals. There is a need to treat such contaminated materials to prevent further environmental and ecological problems. One potential solution is to utilize scrap tire rubber as a sorption media to intercept contaminants.

This project will include research to lay the groundwork for applications utilizing scrap tire rubber as a contaminant sorption media. The results of this study will provide guidelines regarding what types of scrap tire rubber have the capacity to absorb different contaminants that commonly lead to NPS pollution. The methods to measure such properties will also be refined to such applications. The scope of the project will include:

  1. Development of a new procedure, or adoption of an existing procedure to practically evaluate the effectiveness of scrap tire rubber as a sorption media for a broad range of typical contaminants present in soil, sediment, groundwater, and stormwater runoff (e.g., volatile organic compounds, metals, PCBs, etc.). The primary measure of sorption effectiveness will be the partitioning coefficient of the sorbent (scrap tire rubber).
  2. Establishment of the sorption behavior and capabilities of scrap tire rubber based on the following:
    • Rubber particle size (various sizes of chip & crumb)
    • Rubber type (passenger vs. truck tire)
    • Crumb rubber processing method (ambient vs. cryogenic grinding)
    • Contaminant type (e.g., VOCs, metals, PCBs, etc.)

Final Report



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