Nonionic surfactant at aqueous-phase concentrations less than the CMC can affect the distribution of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in soil/aqueous systems. Sub-CMC levels of nonionic surfactant can enhance the apparent aqueous-phase HOC solubility, increase the soil organic carbon content due to surfactant sorption, and modify the value of the HOC soil/aqueous distribution coefficient. Experimental data quantifying these effects are presented for several HOCs and nonionic surfactants. A method is proposed for predicting the distribution of HOC between soil and bulk solution with sub-CMC aqueous-phase concentrations of nonionic surfactant.

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