This study evaluated the effects of heterogeneous thermally altered carbonaceous matter (CM) on trichloroethylene (TCE) sorption for a low fraction organic carbon content (foc) alluvial sedimentary aquifer and aquitard system (foc=0.046-0.105%). The equilibrium TCE sorption isotherms were highly nonlinear with Freundlich exponents of 0.46-0.58. Kerogen+black carbon was the dominant CM fraction extracted from the sediments and accounted for >60% and 99% of the total in the sands and silt, respectively. Organic petrological examination determined that the kerogen included abundant amorphous organic matter (bituminite), likely of marine origin. The dark calcareous siltstone exhibited the greatest TCE sorption among aquifer lithocomponents and accounted for most sorption in the aquifer. The results suggest that the source of the thermally altered CM, which causes nonlinear sorption, was derived from parent Paleozoic marine carbonate rocks that outcrop throughout much of New York State. A synthetic aquifer-aquitard unit system (10% aquitard) was used to illustrate the effect of the observed nonlinear sorption on mass storage potential at equilibrium. The calculation showed that >80% of TCE mass contained in the aquifer was sorbed on the aquifer sediment at aqueous concentration <1000 μgL(-1). These results show that sorption is likely a significant contributor to the persistence of a TCE groundwater plume in the aquifer studied. It is implied that sorption may similarly contribute to TCE persistence in other glacial alluvial aquifers with similar geologic characteristics, i.e., comprised of sedimentary rock lithocomponents that contain thermally altered CM.