Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 133–146 | Cite as

Heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in municipal sewage sludge from a river in highly urbanized metropolitan area in Hanoi, Vietnam: levels, accumulation pattern and assessment of land application

  • Cao Vu HungEmail author
  • Bui Duy Cam
  • Pham Thi Ngoc Mai
  • Bach Quang Dzung
Original Paper


Concentrations of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sludge from Kim Nguu River, Hanoi, Vietnam, were analyzed to understand the contamination levels, distribution and accumulation pattern of municipal sludge from a highly urbanized area that receive direct discharge of wastewater. High concentrations of heavy metals such as As, Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn were observed in sludge, which were exceeded the Vietnamese regulation threshold values. In general, contamination status of heavy metals in sludge was in the similar range or slightly lower than those previously reported in sludge from the same area. The mean concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn were 24.3, 2.65, 105, 166, 60.8, 73.7 and 569 mg/kg dry wt., respectively. Our result also indicates increased levels of PAHs, which are among the first data on PAHs accumulation in municipal sludge from metropolitan area in Vietnam. PAH concentrations ranged from 218 to 751 mg/kg dry wt. (mean: 456 mg/kg dry wt.), which were greater than those reported in sewage sludge from other countries as well as in sediments and soils collected from the same area. Accumulation pattern revealed the predominant of higher-ringed PAH compounds. Indicator ratios suggest the sources of PAHs were probably derived from biomass (wood and coal) and fossil fuel combustion and petroleum emissions. Most of the sludge samples contain PAHs concentrations exceeding various international guidelines values for sludge and sediment, such as probable effect levels, suggesting the possible risk for adverse biological effects in the study area and in the landfill sites where dredged sludge was dumped.


Kim Nguu River Municipal sludge Heavy metals Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 



This study was supported by Pony Chung Foundation and Hyundai Development Company, the Project “Study and assess on chemical and microbiological properties in the ballast water in cargo ships” (Code: QG.13.08, Vietnam National University). The authors also wish to thank Vietnam—Korean Center for Environmental Research and Training (VKCET) for the technical assistance in chemical analysis and comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cao Vu Hung
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bui Duy Cam
    • 1
  • Pham Thi Ngoc Mai
    • 1
  • Bach Quang Dzung
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryHanoi University of Science, VNU University of ScienceHanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IMHEN)HanoiVietnam

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