Distribution, source, and ecological risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface sediments from the Hun River, northeast China.
The spatial distribution, composition, and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments and suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the Pearl River Estuary and adjacent coastal areas were examined. Total PAH concentrations varied from 189 to 637 ng/g in sediments and 422 to 1,850 ng/g in SPM. PAHs were dominated by 5,6-ring compounds in sediments and by 2,3-ring compounds in SPM samples. Assessment of PAH sources suggested that biomass and coal combustion is the major PAH source to the outer part of the estuary sediments and that petroleum combustion is the major PAH source to the inner part of estuary sediments. As for SPM samples, PAH isomer pair ratios indicated multiple (petroleum, petroleum combustion, and biomass and coal combustion) PAH sources, and significant temporal variations could exist for the sources of water column PAHs in the study area. The distribution of perylene in SPM samples indicated that the river was the dominant source of perylene in SPM and that perylene could be taken as an index to assess the contribution of river inflow to the total PAHs in SPM samples. The high concentration of perylene in the sediment was indicative of an in situ biogenic origin.