Distribution and spatial trends of PAHs and PCBs in soils in the Seine River basin, France

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsMotelay-Massei, A, D., O, Garban, B, Teil, M-J, Blanchard, M, Chevreuil, M
Start Page555
Mots-clésPAHs, PCBs, soils, spatial trends, transport
Persistent organic pollutants (PAHs and PCBs) in soil samples from seven sites across the Seine basin were analysed. Samples were taken from industrialized, urban, suburban and remote sites. Results showed spatial differences, in terms of concentrations and congener profiles. PAH (?14 PAHs) and PCB (?7 PCBs) concentrations ranged from 450 to 5650 µg kg-1 and 0.09 to 150 µg kg-1, respectively. A clear gradient from industrial to remote sites was highlighted, with a ratio of up to one order of magnitude for PAHs and two orders of magnitude for PCBs. Fluoranthene and pyrene were predominant, while the carcinogenic PAHs represented 15–46% of the total PAH content. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, soil samples profiles were compared and the influence of site location and potential sources were identified: automobile traffic, domestic heating, and industrial emissions were the prevalent PAHs sources in the Seine basin. PCB profiles suggested different transport patterns among congeners. For remote sites, the congener fingerprint showed a relatively higher proportion of the most volatile congeners, which were attributed to increased atmospheric residence times. Thus, PAH and PCB distributions in soils provided information on sources and evidence for short-range transport, and profiles of compounds reflected differences between regional and local emissions. This study demonstrates that soil sampling can be used to investigate spatial differences in atmospheric inputs of persistent organic pollutants based on differences in the mixtures of compounds, reflecting differences in regional and local atmospheric emissions.