Occurrence of phthalate diesters in rivers of the Paris district (France)

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsTeil, M-J, Blanchard, M, Dargnat, C, Larcher-Tiphagne, K, Chevreuil, M
JournalHydrological Processes
Date Published05/2007
ISBN Number1099-1085
Mots-clésflood, freshwater, phthalate esters, river seine, suspended sediment, wastewater

The occurrence and fate of six phthalate esters were investigated in the River Seine and two tributaries in the Paris area, at six sites from upstream to downstream, throughout different seasons, with special attention given to a flood episode. At all sites, except the River Marne, whatever the period, diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) displayed the highest concentration (0·323-0·779 µg l-1 as mean values), followed by di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP; 0·211-0·526 µg l-1 as mean values), which is consistent with the production pattern. High phthalate concentrations appeared to be related to population density and industrial distribution. The strongest values were located downstream from wastewater treatment plant effluent inputs. Seasonal variations were closely related to river flow and air and water temperature. The annual evolution of phthalates was linked to the hydrological conditions. During the flood episode at Paris, the DEHP concentration displayed a sharp increase (260 to 1123 ng l-1) occurring 9 days before the flood peak. The simultaneous fluctuations of NH4, typical of domestic origin, and of DEHP suggests a similar origin from combined sewer overflows for both compounds. Other elevated values corresponded to the highest precipitation amounts, and demonstrated the contribution of non-point-source runoff and wastewater overflow to DEHP inputs. The DEHP concentration relationship with river flow displayed a clockwise hysteresis loop, corresponding to a first-flush effect in which the finite supplies are swept along in the early stage of the flood. Annual fluxes for 2004 at Paris were 2257 kg of DEHP and 1613 kg of DnBP. The flood period seemed to have a minor impact on annual phthalate transport (29·5% and 41% of the total for DEHP and for DnBP, respectively), which is contrary to annual suspended solids transport (69%).