Spatial distribution and temporal trends of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water and sediment from Songhua River, China

Xuesong Zhao, Jing Ding, Hong You
Environmental Geochemistry and Health 2014, 36 (1): 131-43
The spatial and temporal distributions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Songhua River, Harbin, China, were investigated. Seventy-seven samples, 42 water and 35 sediment samples, were collected in April and October of 2007 and January of 2008. The concentrations of total PAHs in water ranged from 163.54 to 2,746.25 ng/L with the average value of 934.62 ng/L, which were predominated by 2- and 3-ring PAHs. The concentrations of total 16 PAHs in sediment ranged from 68.25 to 654.15 ng/g dw with the average value of 234.15 ng/g dw, which were predominated by 4-, 5- and 6-ring PAHs. Statistical analysis of the PAH concentrations shown that the highest concentrations of the total PAHs were found during rainy season (October of 2007) and the lowest during snowy season (January of 2008). Ratios of specific PAH compounds, including fluoranthene/(fluoranthene + pyrene) (Flu/(Flu + Pyr)) and phenanthrene/(phenanthrene + anthracene) (An/(Ant + PhA)), were calculated to evaluate the possible sources of PAH contaminations. These ratios reflected pyrolytic inputs of PAHs in Songhua River water and a mixed pattern of pyrolytic and petrogenic inputs of PAHs in the Songhua River sediments. Ecotoxicological risk levels calculated for PAHs suggested that there were individual PAHs, which can less frequently cause biological impairment in some samples, but no samples had constituents that may frequently cause biological impairment. Total toxic benzo[a]pyrene equivalent of ΣcPAHs varied from 10.03 to 29.7 ng/g dw and from 0.36 to 1.92 ng/g dw for total toxic tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalent. The level of PAHs indicated a low toxicological risk to this area.

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