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Characterization and sources of PAHs in an urban river system in Beijing, China

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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).

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Correspondence to X. J. Wang.

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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

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Keywords

  • PAHs
  • Water sample
  • Suspended particle
  • Sediment
  • Distribution
  • Source apportionment