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Spatial and temporal variations of the occurrence and distribution of polycyclic aromatic compounds in a river system affected by past industrial activities

  • Abuhelou, Fayez
Publication Date
Dec 15, 2016
Kaleidoscope Open Archive
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The spatio-temporal variations of the concentration and distribution of dissolved and particulate polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), namely 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 11 oxygenated PACs (O-PACs) and 5 nitrogen PACs (N-PACs), were studied in the Orne, a river impacted for more than one century by iron mining and steel-making industry. The first objective of this work was to compare the influence of two different methods of separation of suspended particulate matter (SPM), filtration (FT) and field continuous flow centrifuge (CFC). Results showed that in half of the sampling campaigns, PAC concentrations were 2 to 8 times higher for PAHs and 2 to 10 times higher for O-PAC when SPM were collected by filtration. These differences that were not observed systematically over the six sampling campaigns could be explained by the retention of colloidal matter on glass-fiber filters that appeared as a very reactive phase particularly enriched in low molecular PACs. The two methods were then considered as complementary methods to study SPM. The second objective of this work was to perform a long term monitoring of PAC concentrations and distributions in dissolved and particulate fractions. The results from the six sampling campaigns between May 2014 and September 2015 in eight different sites showed that the PAC concentrations ranged between 1.6 to 223.7 ng L-1 in the dissolved fraction (?PACTD), and between 1,55 to 105,5 µg g-1 in the total particulate fraction, with maximum spatial variation of ±35% and ±45% respectively. The dissolved PACs spatial variations were strongly influenced by the hydrological conditions and less spatial variation was observed during high flow events as the result of dilution and homogenization of pollutants. During low flow events, particulate PACSPM-CFC concentrations were more stable and equivalent in values and distribution to the corresponding PACSPM-FT samples. Overall it was in a range between 2.8 to 36.3 µg g-1. The dominance of dissolved low molecular weight PAHTD in the low flow events decreased during high flow events due to the appearance of penta- and hexa-cyclic PAHs. The dissolved polar PACs were as high as the PAHs contribution and also subjected to seasonal changes, the O-PACs ranged between 5.6 to 90.3 ng L-1 and N-PAHs from 1.0 to 42.5 ng L-1. The particulate polar PACs concentrations and contribution were significantly lower, the highest concentrations of 8,76 µg g-1 and 29,41 µg g-1 was observed during high flow event for O-PACs and during low flow event for N-PAH respectively

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