Levels, spatial variations, and possible sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment from Songhua River, China

  • Song CuiEmail author
  • Kunyang Li
  • Qiang FuEmail author
  • Yi-Fan Li
  • Dong Liu
  • Shang Gao
  • Zihan Song
Original Paper


The source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediment from the Songhua River, which is located in a cold region, is not fully understood and has not been sufficiently assessed under bad conditions. The 16 priority PAHs in sediment from the Songhua River were analyzed and their potential source was diagnosed in the present study. The total concentrations of the PAHs ranged from 34 to 4456 ng/g dw, and fluoranthene (FlA), pyrene (Pyr), phenanthrene (Phe), and chrysene (Chr) were the dominant PAHs. The coefficient of divergence (CD) was used to compare the similarities of these PAHs in sediments from different sampling sites, and the results showed that their compositions were quite different. Importantly, a positive correlation was found between coal consumption and the total concentrations of PAHs in sediment (R = 0.999, p < 0.001), but no significant correlation was found between the amounts of crude oil/natural gas consumption and the total concentrations of PAHs. Emissions from coal consumption might be the main source of PAHs in sediment from the Songhua River because coal is the main fuel used for heat in this northern, cold region in China.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Sediment Songhua River Source China 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51779047), the Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (No. QC2016054), and the Academic Backbone Project of Northeast Agricultural University (No. 17XG04).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Joint Research Center for Persistent Toxic Substances (IJRC-PTS), School of Water Conservancy and Civil EngineeringNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.IJRC-PTS, State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and EnvironmentHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina

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