Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 6423–6430 | Cite as

Dissemination of acrylamide monomer from polyacrylamide-based flocculant use—sand and gravel quarry case study

  • Solene TouzéEmail author
  • Valérie Guerin
  • Anne-Gwenaëlle Guezennec
  • Stéphane Binet
  • Anne Togola
Degradation and transfer of polyacrylamide based floculents in sludges and industrial and natural waters


Aggregate quarries play a major role in land settlement. However, like all industrial operations, they can have impacts on the environment, notably due to the use of polyacrylamide (PAM)-based flocculants, which contain residual acrylamide (AMD), a carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic monomer. In this study, the dissemination of AMD throughout the environment has been investigated in a French quarry. The presence of AMD has been determined in the process water and in the sludge, as well as in the surrounding surface water and groundwater. From the results of several sampling campaigns carried out on this case study, we can (a) confirm that the AMD contained in the commercial product is found in the quarry’s water circuit (0.41 to 5.66 μg/l); (b) show that AMD is transported to the surrounding environment, as confirmed by the contamination of a pond near the installation (0.07 to 0.08 μg/l) and the presence of AMD in groundwater (0.01 to 0.02 μg/l); and (c) show that the sludge in both the current and former settling basins contains AMD (between 4 and 26 μg/kg of dry sludge). Therefore, we demonstrated in this case study that using PAM-based flocculants leads to the release of AMD to the environment beyond the treatment plant and creates a reserve of AMD in sludge basins.


Polyacrylamide Flocculant Acrylamide Dissemination Gravel pit Quarry 



This study was carried out within the framework of the French research project AQUAPOL, funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). We thank the employees at the quarry for allowing us excellent access to the site. The authors also thank Mickael Beaulieu and Charlotte Coureau for sampling and analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solene Touzé
    • 1
    Email author
  • Valérie Guerin
    • 1
  • Anne-Gwenaëlle Guezennec
    • 1
  • Stéphane Binet
    • 3
    • 4
  • Anne Togola
    • 2
  1. 1.Water, Environment and Ecotechnologies DivisionBRGMOrleansFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory DivisionBRGMOrleansFrance
  3. 3.Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orléans (ISTO)UMR 7327-CNRS/Université d’Orléans, Campus GéosciencesOrleansFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire écologie fonctionnelle et environnement, UMR 5245 CNRS-UPS-INPTENSATCastanet-TolosanFrance

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