Water samples from 20 locations on rivers in the Tongzhou District of Beijing were collected four times from July 2005 to March 2006. In addition, sediment samples were collected in July 2005. All samples were analyzed for 16 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) priority pollutants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The concentration, distribution, seasonal variation, and sources of the 16 PAH compounds identified in the water samples, suspended particles, and surface sediments were then evaluated. The concentrations of PAHs in the water and suspended particle and surface sediment samples ranged from 87.3 to 1,890 ng l−1, 1,330 to 27,700 ng g−1, and 156 to 8,650 ng g−1, respectively. These results demonstrated that rivers in the Tongzhou District of Beijing had a high level of PAH pollution, especially in the suspended particles. The highest and lowest concentrations of PAHs in the water samples were observed in summer and spring. However, the seasonal variations in the concentration of PAHs in the suspended particles were more complicated. The dominant compounds in the water, suspended particle, and surface sediment samples were two-, three- and four-ring PAH compounds, respectively. Ratio analysis illustrated that fuel-burning was the primary source of PAHs in the study area. Gasoline, diesel, coal, and coke oven sources were identified and the contributions of the different fuel-burning sources were then calculated using factor analysis and multiple linear regression. These analyses revealed that coal combustion, gasoline combustion plus coke oven emission, and diesel combustion accounted for 38.8%, 38.5%, and 22.7% of the PAHs in suspended particles, respectively.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Cachot, J., Geffard, O., & Augagneur, S. (2006). Evidence of genotoxicity related to high PAH content of sediments in the upper part of the Seine estuary (Normandy, France). Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 79, 257–267. doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2006.06.014.
Charlesworth, M., Service, M., & Gibson, C. E. (2002). PAH contamination of western Irish Sea sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 44, 1421–1434. doi:10.1016/S0025-326X(02)00306-5.
Chen, B. L., Xuan, X. D., Zhu, L. Z., Wang, J., Gao, Y. Z., Yang, K., et al. (2004). Distributions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface waters, sediments and soils of Hangzhou City, China. Water Research, 38, 3558–3568. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2004.05.013.
Dahle, S., Savinov, V. M., Matishov, G. G., Evenset, A., & Nas, K. (2003). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in bottom sediments of the Kara Sea shelf, Gulf of Ob and Yenisei Bay. The Science of the Total Environment, 306, 57–71. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00484-9.
Doong, R., & Lin, Y. T. (2004). Characterization and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contaminations in surface sediment and water from Gao-ping River, Taiwan. Water Research, 38, 1733–1744. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2003.12.042.
Fang, G. C., Chang, C. N., Wu, Y. S., Cheng, F. P. P., Yang, I. L., & Chen, M. H. (2004). Characterization, identification of ambient air and road dust polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in central Taiwan, Taichung. The Science of the Total Environment, 327, 135–146. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2003.10.016.
Fang, G. C., Wu, Y. S., Chang, C. N., & Ho, T. T. (2006). A study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons concentrations and source identifications by methods of diagnostic ratio and principal component analysis at Taichung chemical Harbor near Taiwan Strait. Chemosphere, 64, 1233–1242. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.11.031.
Harrison, R. M., Smith, D. J. T., & Luhana, L. (1996). Source apportionment of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons collected from an urban location in Birmingham, UK. Environmental Science & Technology, 30, 825–832. doi:10.1021/es950252d.
Keith, L. H., & Telliard, W. A. (1979). Priority pollutants IA perspective view. Environmental Science & Technology, 13, 416–423. doi:10.1021/es60152a601.
Liu, G. Q., Zhang, G., Li, J., Li, X. D., Peng, X. Z., & Qi, S. H. (2006). Spatial distribution and seasonal variations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMD) and pine needles in the Pearl River Delta, South China. Atmospheric Environment, 40, 3134–3143. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.01.027.
Mackay, D., Shiu, Y., & Ma, C. (1992). Illustrated Handbook of Physical-Chemical Properties and Environmental Fate for Organic Chemical. Florida: Lewis, Boca Raton.
Mai, B. X., Qi, S. H., Zeng, E. Y., Yang, Q. S., Zhang, G., & Fu, J. M. (2003). Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the coastal region off Macao, China: assessment of input sources and transport pathways using compositional analysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 37, 4855–4863. doi:10.1021/es034514k.
Manoli, E., Samara, C., & Konstantinou, A. T. (2000). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the bulk precipitation and surface waters of Northern Greece. Chemosphere, 41, 1845–1855. doi:10.1016/S0045-6535(00)00134-X.
Matt, F. S., Steven, J. E., & Paul, J. L. (1999). Source apportionment and source/sink relationships of PAHs in the coastal atmosphere of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Atmospheric Environment, 33, 5071–5079. doi:10.1016/S1352-2310(99)00233-2.
Nadal, M., Schuhmacher, M., & Domingo, J. L. (2004). Levels of PAHs in soil and vegetation samples from Tarragona County, Spain. Environmental Pollution, 132, 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2004.04.003.
Rebecca, E. C., Rebecca, M. D., & Elizabeth, A. C. (2003). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) distributions and associations with organic matter in surface waters of the York River, VA Estuary. Organic Geochemistry, 34, 209–224. doi:10.1016/S0146-6380(02)00162-6.
Savinov, V. M., Savinova, T. N., Matishova, G. G., Dahle, S., & Nas, K. (2003). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and organochlorines (OCs) in bottom sediments of the Guba Pechenga, Barents Sea, Russia. The Science of the Total Environment, 306, 39–56. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00483-7.
Seung, S. P., & Young, J. K. (2005). Source contributions to fine particulate matter in an urban atmosphere. Chemosphere, 59, 217–226. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.11.001.
Simo, R., Grimalt, J. O., & Albaiges, J. (1997). Background levels of atmospheric hydrocarbons, sulphate and nitrate over the western Mediterranean. Environmental Science & Technology, 31, 2697–2700. doi:10.1021/es960994m.
Yang, Q. S., Ou, S. Y., Xie, P., Mai, B. X., Fu, J. M., & Sheng, G. Y. (2004). Distribution and seasonal changes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface water from Humen tidal channel. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 26, 37–48.
Yunker, M. B., Backus, S. M., Pannatier, E. G., Jeffries, D. S., & Macdonald, R. W. (2002). Sources and significance of alkane and PAH hydrocarbons in Canadian arctic rivers. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 55, 1–31. doi:10.1006/ecss.2001.0880.
Zakaria, M. P., Takada, H., Tsutsumi, S., Ohno, K., Yamada, J., Kouno, E., et al. (2002). Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rivers and estuaries in Malaysia: a widespread input of petrogenic PAHs. Environmental Science & Technology, 36, 1907–1918. doi:10.1021/es011278+.
Zhang, Z. L., Huang, J., Yu, G., & Hong, H. S. (2004). Occurrence of PAHs, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in the Tonghui River of Beijing, China. Environmental Pollution, 130, 249–261. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2003.12.002.
Zhang, S.C., Zhang, W., Shen, Y.T., Wang, K.Y., Hu, L.W., Wang, X.J. (2008). Dry deposition of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the southeast suburb of Beijing, China. Atmospheric Research. doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2008.01.003
Zhang, W., Zhang, S.C., Wan, C., Yue, D.P., Ye, Y.B., Wang, X.J. (2007). Source diagnostics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in urban road runoff, dust, rain and canopy throughfall. Environmental Pollution. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2007.09.004
Zhou, J. L., Fileman, T. W., Evans, S., Donkin, P., Mantooura, R. F. C., & Rowland, S. J. (1996). Seasonal distribution of dissolved insecticides and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in the Humber Estuary and Humber coastal zone. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 32, 599–608. doi:10.1016/0025-326X(96)00014-8.
Zhou, J. L., Hong, H. S., Zhang, Z. L., Maskaoui, K., & Chen, W. (2000). Multi-phase distribution of organic micropollutants in Xiamen Harbor, China. Water Research, 34, 2132–2150. doi:10.1016/S0043-1354(99)00360-7.
Zhou, J. L., & Maskaoui, K. (2003). Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and surface sediments from Daya Bay, China. Environmental Pollution, 121, 269–281. doi:10.1016/S0269-7491(02)00215-4.
Zhu, L. Z., Chen, B. L., Wang, J., & Shen, H. X. (2004). Pollution survey of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface water of Hangzhou, China. Chemosphere, 56, 1085–1095. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.05.025.
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40525003), Key MOE Research Project 306019, and the National Basic Research Program of China (2003 CB415004).
About this article
Cite this article
Shen, Q., Wang, K.Y., Zhang, W. et al. Characterization and sources of PAHs in an urban river system in Beijing, China. Environ Geochem Health 31, 453–462 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-008-9198-1
- Water sample
- Suspended particle
- Source apportionment