Sewage containing volatile contaminants is a potential VOC-source in cities. Thus we tried to evaluate volatilization out of the sewerage system by measurements of contaminants in sewer gas and sewage. Our results from a medium sized town with little industry showed that sewer gas is mainly contaminated with alkanes, small aromatic compounds and chlorinated hydrocarbons. For three chlorinated hydrocarbons (chloroform, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene) we determined mass transfer coefficients out of sewage and used these data to estimate mass fluxes from sewage and emissions out of the sewerage system for two sewer stretches. Considerable emission of chlorinated hydrocarbons from sewage, i.e. fluxes of some 10 to 100 g per m2·d, occurred only when the contaminant input via sewage was between some g and mg per litre for a single compound. For concentrations that were about 3 orders of magnitude less, emissions were negligible.

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