Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 172, Issue 1–4, pp 529–545 | Cite as

Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and bed sediments of the Gomti River, India

  • Amrita Malik
  • Priyanka Verma
  • Arun K. Singh
  • Kunwar P. SinghEmail author


The spatial and temporal distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was investigated in Gomti River, a major tributary of the Ganga river (India). A total of 96 samples (water and sediments) were collected from eight different sites over a period of 2 years and analysed for 16 PAHs. The total concentrations of 16 PAHs in water and bed sediments ranged between 0.06 and 84.21 μg/L (average (n = 48), 10.33 ± 19.94 μg/L) and 5.24–3,722.87 ng/g dw [average (n = 48): 697.25 ± 1,005.23 ng/g dw], respectively. In water, two- and three-ring PAHs and, in sediments, the three- and four-ring PAHs were the dominant species. The ratios of anthracene (An)/An + phenenthrene and fluoranthene (Fla)/Fla + pyrene were calculated to evaluate the possible sources of PAHs. These ratios reflected a pattern of pyrolytic input as a major source of PAHs in the river. Principal component analysis, further, separated the PAHs sources in the river sediments, suggesting that both the pyrolytic and petrogenic sources are contributing to the PAHs burden. The threat to biota of the river due to PAHs contamination was assessed using effect range low and effect range median values, and the results suggested that sediment at some occasions may pose biological impairment.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Biological threshold Source apportionment River pollution 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amrita Malik
    • 1
  • Priyanka Verma
    • 1
  • Arun K. Singh
    • 1
  • Kunwar P. Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Chemistry Division, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research)Mahatma Gandhi MargIndia

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