Distribution and source recognition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the sediments of Hsin-ta Harbour and adjacent coastal areas, Taiwan

Meng-Der Fang, Chon-Lin Lee, Chia-Shun Yu
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2003, 46 (8): 941-53
Thirty-three sediment samples from Hsin-ta Harbour and neighboring coastal areas were analyzed by GC-MS for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Total concentrations of 30 analyzed parental and alkylated PAHs ( summation operator PAH) varied from 98.1 to 3382 ng/g dry weight. MP/P (methylphenanthrenes/phenanthrene) values larger than 2 coincided with very low P/A (phenanthrene/anthracene) values at inner harbour stations, revealing that a significant portion of low molecular weight PAHs are probably from petrogenic pollution sources, specifically, illegal disposal of used motor oil. The 4,6-dimethyldibenzothiophene/3,6-dimethylphenanthrene (4,6-C(2)D/3,6-C(2)P) ratio is found to be more useful than the MP/P ratio in tracing petrogenic PAHs from the inner harbour area to the adjacent coastal environment. In addition, according to hierarchical cluster analysis, collected sediments cluster in three major groups, Off-shore Group, Near-shore Group and Inner Harbour Group. Three diagnostic ratios, 4,6-C(2)D/3,6-C(2)P, PER/ summation operator PAH (perylene to summation operator PAH) and BaA/CHR (benzo(a)anthracene/chrysene), representing petrogenic, biogenic and pyrogenic origins, are found to be effective in differentiating and characterizing sediments among the groups in this study. Enrichment of pyrogenic and petrogenic PAHs in sediments collected exhibits mixing or dilution, spatially, by biogenic (or natural) PAHs.

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