Many organic priority pollutants are resistant to biological decomposition. Some are almost totally resistant and may persist in the environment for considerable periods of time; others are toxic or hazardous and require special management.
Volatilization, adsorption, and then biodegradation are the principal methods for removing trace organics in natural treatment systems. Volatilization can occur at the water surface of ponds, wetlands, and SAT basins; in the water droplets from sprinklers used in land treatment; from the liquid films in overland-flow systems; and from the exposed surfaces of sludge. Adsorption occurs primarily on the organic matter in the treatment system that is in contact with the waste. In many cases, microbial activity then degrades the adsorbed materials.
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