Assessment of persistent organic pollutants in soil and sediments from an urbanized flood plain area

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and phenolic compounds (PCs) are persistent organic compounds. Contamination of these potentially toxic organic pollutants in soils and sediments is most studied environmental compartments. In recent past, studies were carried out on PAHs, OCPs and PCs in various soils and sediments in India. But, this is the first study on these pollutants in soils and sediments from an urbanized river flood plain area in Delhi, India. During 2018, a total of fifty-four samples including twenty-seven each of soil and sediment were collected and analyzed for thirteen priority PAHs, four OCPs and six PCs. The detected concentration of ∑PAHs, ∑OCPs and ∑PCs in soils ranged between 473 and 1132, 13 and 41, and 639 and 2112 µg/kg, respectively, while their concentrations in sediments ranged between 1685 and 4010, 4.2 and 47, and 553 and 20,983 µg/kg, respectively. PAHs with 4-aromatic rings were the dominant compounds, accounting for 51 and 76% of total PAHs in soils and sediments, respectively. The contribution of seven carcinogen PAHs (7CPAHs) in soils and sediments accounted for 43% and 61%, respectively, to ∑PAHs. Among OCPs, p, p’-DDT was the dominant compound in soils, while α-HCH was found to be dominated in sediments. The concentrations of ∑CPs (chlorophenols) were dominated over ∑NPs (nitrophenols) in both the matrices. Various diagnostic tools were applied for the identification of their possible sources in soil and sediments. The observed concentrations of PAHs, OCPs and PCs were more or less comparable with the recently reports from various locations around the world including India. Soil quality guidelines and consensus-based sediment quality guidelines were applied for the assessment of ecotoxicological health effect.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to competent authorities of Central Pollution Control Board for providing the necessary facilities to conduct study. Piyush, VK and AT are also thankful to CPCB for permission to carried out study for postgraduate dissertations. The views expressed in this paper are those of authors and do not necessarily reflect the organization’s.

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Kumar, B., Verma, V.K., Mishra, M. et al. Assessment of persistent organic pollutants in soil and sediments from an urbanized flood plain area. Environ Geochem Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-00839-9

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Keywords

  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Priority PAHs
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Priority phenols
  • Soil
  • Sediment
  • Flood plains