Assessment of organic pollutants (PAH and PCB) in surface water: sediments and shallow groundwater of Grombalia watershed in northeast of Tunisia

  • Khadhar Samia
  • Achouri Dhouha
  • Chekirben Anis
  • Mlayah Ammar
  • Azibi Rim
  • Charef Abdelkrim
ICIEM 2016
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Geology of North Africa and Mediterranean regions


Toxic organic compounds in wastewater are serious threats for both human and environment healthy states. This study investigates the potential sources of surface water, sediment and groundwater pollution by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) as discharged by wastewater into the River of Oued El bey in northeastern Tunisia. Analysis indicates that the concentration of PAHs and PCBs are high in wastewater and vary from 0.37 to 0.83 mg/L and from 0.28 and 1.18 mg/L, respectively. The spatial distribution of PAHs and PCB in surface water showed a variation between 0.37 to 9.91 mg/L and between 0.1 to 0.47 mg/L, respectively. However, the quality of surface water is changed after wastewater evacuation at Oued Tahouna. The determination of PAH and PCB pollutants in groundwater shows a great interest in the development of water resources. The Concentration of these pollutants varying from 0.0204 to 1.93 mg/L and from 0.0052 to 0.196 mg/L, respectively. For PAH, analysis reveals also that naphtelene, fluorene, anthracene and chrysene are the most detected PAHs compounds in water and sediment samples while benzo[b]fluoranthene and benzo[a]pyrene are less present and in trace level. Higher concentrations of PAHs and PCBs are found in samples taken close to industrial areas of Bouargoub and Soliman, and wastewater discharge locations in Soliman. Analysis of the spatial distribution of PAHs and PCBs clearly link their higher concentration in water and sediments to wastewater and manufacturing discharges in the study area. In surface sediment, the organic pollutants are present. The cluster analysis for organic pollutants in different state and different matrix highlight a relationship between the wastewater evacuation and the water qualities which confirmed the direct response of the pollution sources on the surface water and groundwater organic pollution quality.


Organic pollution Surface water Sediment Shallow groundwater Wastewater, cluster analysis 


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khadhar Samia
    • 1
  • Achouri Dhouha
    • 2
  • Chekirben Anis
    • 1
  • Mlayah Ammar
    • 1
  • Azibi Rim
    • 1
  • Charef Abdelkrim
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Research and Technologies CenterSolimanTunisia
  2. 2.Institute of High Science and Environmental TechnologiesBorj-CedriaTunisia

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