Aquatic environment

Concentration and source identification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and phthalic acid esters in the surface water of the Yangtze River Delta, China

Lifei Zhang , Liang Dong , Lijun Ren , Shuangxin Shi , Li Zhou , Ting Zhang , Yeru Huang


Received April 19, 2011,Revised July 04, 2011, Accepted , Available online February 10, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 335-342

The pollution from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and phthalic acid esters (PAEs) in the surface water of the rapidly urbanized Yangtze River Delta region was investigated. Fourteen surface water samples were collected in June 2010. Water samples were liquid-liquid extracted using methylene chloride and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Concentrations of PAHs and PAEs ranged 12.9-638.1 ng/L and 61-28550 ng/L, respectively. Fluoranthene, naphthalene, pyrene, phenanthrene, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and di-n-butyl phthalate were the most abundant compounds in the samples. The water samples were moderately polluted with benzo[a]pyrene according to China's environmental quality standard for surface water. The two highest concentrations of PAHs and PAEs occurred in samples from Taihu Lake, Wuxi City and the western section of Yangchenghu Lake. Potential sources of pollution at S7 were petroleum combustion and the plastics industry, and at Yangchenghu Lake were petroleum combustion and domestic waste. Pollution in samples from the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal originated from diesel engines. There were no obvious sources of pollution for the other water samples. These results can be used as reference levels for future monitoring programs of pollution from PAHs and PAEs.

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