Vapor-Phase Exchange of Perchloroethene Between Soil and Plants


Tree core concentrations of tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethene, PCE) at the Riverfront Superfund Site in New Haven, MO, were found to mimic the profile of soil phase concentrations. the observed soil-tree core relationship was stronger than that of groundwater PCE to tree core concentrations at the same site. Earlier research has shown a direct, linear relationship between tree core and groundwater concentrations of chlorinated solvents and other organics. Laboratory-scale experiments were performed to elucidate this phenomenon, including determining partitioning coefficients of PCE between plant tissues and air and between plant tissues and water, measured to be 8.1 and 49 L/kg, respectively. the direct relationship of soil to tree core PCE concentrations was hypothesized to be caused by diffusion between tree roots and the soil vapor phase in the subsurface. the central findings of this research are discovering the importance of subsurface vapor-phase transfer for VOCs and uncovering a direct relationship between soil vapor-phase chlorinated solvents and uptake rates that impact contaminant translocation from the subsurface and transfer into the atmosphere.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Environmental Protection Agency
National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Exchange of Perchloroethene; Perchloroethene; Vapor-Phase Exchange; Vapor-Phase

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2005 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2005