An assessment of the concentrations of selected polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners as well as BB 153 in leachate samples collected from three landfill sites within the city of Cape Town was conducted. A liquid–liquid extraction technique was employed for the isolation of all the target compounds from the leachate samples. Extracts obtained were further subjected to multi-layer column chromatography employing different forms of silica gel. The prepared samples were analysed using a high capillary gas chromatograph equipped with a micro-electron capture detector (GC-μECD). The overall mean concentrations of the total PBDEs, including BDE 209 ranged between 5.65 and 2,240, 0.28–20.5 and 1.66–1,170 ng/l for Bellville, Coastal Park, and Vissershok landfill sites, respectively. The mean concentrations of BB 153, which were generally low in most of the samples analysed, were 70.4, 7.14 and 8.16 ng/l for Bellville, Coastal Park and Vissershok sites, respectively. The influence of precipitation on the characteristics and quantity of leachate produced from the landfill sites investigated was most pronounced during the August/September sampling regime. Generally, the trend observed in this study clearly indicated a wide variation in the levels of these contaminants in all the landfill sites studied from one sampling period to the other. However, the principal component analysis revealed that the release of these contaminants might be associated with two or three possible sources. This study further confirmed the relevance of landfill leachate as an important source of PBDE contamination of the environment, especially the groundwater and surface water sources.
PBDEs Landfill leachate GC-μECD Solid waste Cape Town
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The authors would like to thank the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa, for financial support and the allocation of a grant-holder-linked D.Tech bursary to AP Daso. We also thank the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa, for providing logistics and laboratory facilities.
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