16 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in water samples from the Jinsha River (Panzhihua part), Southwest China. Total dissolved PAH concentrations varied from 21.89 µg l−1 to 382.8 µg l−1. It was found that the concentration of PAHs decreased along the flow direction due to the higher density distribution of coal chemical industry in the upstream of our study rivers. The pollution levels in our study area are significantly higher than previously reported values in other waters both in China and other countries. The predominance of benzo[k]fluoranthene and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene was clearly observed in all water samples. On average these two compounds accounted for 98.3% of the total dissolved PAH concentration in water. The results showed the positive correlations among total dissolved PAHs, benzo[k]fluoranthene and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, which suggested that these two predominant PAHs have similar source and environmental behaviors in our study area. When compared with the survey results of organic micropollutants two decades ago, it was found that hydrocarbon pollution both predominated and even increased with the development of coal chemical industry in this area during the past 20 years. The results therefore provide important information on the current contamination status of a key industrial city in China, and points to the need for urgent action to investigate the relationship between the PAH composition and concentration in water from the Jinsha River and the wastewater discharge from coal chemical industry, and to identify the source, transport pathway and fate of PAHs in the area. It should then be necessary to adopt appropriate and instant measures to control the pollution around this area.
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Journal of Environmental Monitoring
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