U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Dense Nonaqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs)

Chemistry and Behavior

Halogenated Alkenes

trans 1,2-Dichloroethene

trans 1,2-dichloroethylenetrans 1,2-Dichloroethene (trans-DCE, CAS # 156-60-5) is a highly volatile and flammable chemical. However, it is heavier than air, and therefore its vapors tend to collect in low areas after a spill. Howard (1991) estimates a Koc of 36, a Kow of 2.06, and a Henry's constant of 6.72 x 10-3 atm-m3/mole for trans-DCE. The solubility of trans-DCE is about 6,300 mg/L at 25° C and its specific gravity is 1.26. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has developed a Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethene that contains a useful summary tableAdobe PDF Logo of the physical properties of trans-DCE.

While Koc values are soil specific, the low calculated Koc value for trans-DCE in soil indicates that it is likely to move quickly through soil and sediment and more quickly through aquifer materials than trichloroethene.

The relatively high Henry's constant indicates a propensity for trans-DCE to volatilize out of water. This property has two implications for environmental remediation. When trans-DCE is in a dissolved-phase ground water plume that discharges into a moving body of water, it is very likely to volatilize relatively quickly. Howard (1991) suggests the half life of trans-DCE in a one-meter deep river to be about three hours. The second implication is that trans-DCE may be very susceptible to cleanup using air sparging technology when subsurface conditions permit. When released to the atmosphere, hydroxyl radicals are expected to degrade trans-DCE with a half life of approximately 3.6 days (Howard 1991).

Because of the low Kow, bioaccumulation is not expected to occur to any significant extent. trans-DCE can be degraded by microbial action under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. While it is more easily degraded under anaerobic conditions, the necessary microbial species may not be present in some aquifers. For more information see the Treatment Technologies section.

For Further Information

Handbook of Environmental Fate and Exposure Data for Organic Chemicals, Volume II Solvents
Howard, P. (ed.)
Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, MI, 1991, 546 pp

This book provides physical and chemical properties and fate and transport information for 82 chemical solvents.

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Hazardous Chemicals
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

This guide contains information on the chemical physical properties of 1,2-dichloroethenes and their physical hazards.

Adobe PDF LogoToxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethene
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996, 198 pp

This profile covers 1,2-DCE human health effects, chemical and physical properties, manufacturing volume data, potential for human exposure (environmental fate and transport), and analytical methods.