Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 83–89 | Cite as

HCH residues in point-source contaminated samples of the Teltow Canal in Berlin, Germany

  • M. Ricking
  • J. Schwarzbauer
Original Paper


Contaminated groundwater and a riverine sediment core heavily affected by the same industrial point source were analysed for hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH) and its degradation products. A detailed quantification by GC/MS revealed contamination levels up to 730 μg/L and 396 ng/g in sum for the water and sediment samples, respectively. The isomer pattern differed significantly in both compartments. The ground water samples were depleted in γ-HCH, whereas a significant loss of α-HCH was evident in the sediments as compared to the technical composition. The data obtained revealed interesting insights into the transformation behaviour and fate of HCH mixtures in anaerobic environmental compartments. In the affected groundwater system an ongoing microbial degradation was pointed out by the identification of indicative anaerobic metabolites. On the contrary in the sedimentary system a high environmental stability or rather a hindered degradation was observed as indicated by unaltered concentration levels as compared to production rates as well as by the absence of metabolites. Interestingly, the environmental fate of HCH in subaquatic sediments as well as in anaerobic ground water differs highly in contrast to the behaviour in anaerobic soil or surface water systems. Further on, it has to be stated, that the knowledge about the long-term behaviour of HCH residues in sedimentary material under anaerobic conditions is rather limited so far.


Technical HCH Lindane Biotic degradation HCH metabolites GC–MS analysis Sediment Ground water 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesFree University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and CoalRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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