Title

AN ANALYSIS OF SELECTED CLASSES OF ORGANIC CONSTITUENTS IN THE THAMES RIVER ESTUARY

Date of Completion

January 1980

Keywords

Chemistry, Analytical|Energy

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Purgeable organic compounds, sterols and fatty acids were studied in the Thames River estuary (U.S.A.). Low concentrations of purgeable compounds were found in water samples throughout the estuary; analytical limitations prevented the identification of these compounds. A factorial experiment determined the relative influence of the gas sparging variables (gas flow, salinity, temperature) for the removal of benzene from solution.^ Sediment samples from the Thames River estuary and Mar Menor (Spain) were analyzed for sterols and fatty acids. These compounds were identified by GC/MS. The relative proportions of the C-27 versus C-29 sterols were correlated with the relative influence of marine versus terrestrial sources of organic matter. The data were shown to be consistent with previous studies.^ Fatty acids were determined for the esterified and free acids forms that were present. The relative proportions and concentrations of the two forms in the Mar Menor samples demonstrated a hydrolysis equilibrium in the sediments. The Thames River data suggested a similar process. A rapid or prior removal of terrestrially derived fatty acids was observed at the fresh/saline boundary of the Thames River estuary. The hydrolysis processes and distribution of sterols, discussed in this study, are applicable to other nearshore environments. ^