Natural dredged sediments contaminated by PCBs from the heavy industrialized harbor of Taranto (S. Italy) on the Ionian Sea,
previously dechlorinated by mechanical activation in different ball mills (SPEX and AGO-2), together with synthetic mixtures
emulating the contaminated sediments, were submitted to thermogravimetric and calorimetric measurements as well as to X-ray
powder diffraction in order to clarify the dechlorination reaction mechanism.
Both major sediment components, i.e., carbonates and clay minerals, were found to be affected by the mechanical activation.
As trace pollutants like PCBs are concentrated in clays, the mechanical activation of sediments increases the release of pollutants
yielding a more active decontamination.
DSC results were less informative as calorimetric peaks from different thermal events were found to overlap.