Source identification and ecological impact evaluation of PAHs in urban river sediments: A case study in Taiwan

Y. T. Tu, J. H. Ou, Daniel C.W. Tsang, C. D. Dong, C. W. Chen, C. M. Kao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The Love River and Ho-Jin River, two major urban rivers in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, are moderately to heavily polluted because different types of improperly treated wastewaters are discharged into the rivers. In this study, sediment and river water samples were collected from two rivers to investigate the river water quality and accumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments. The spatial distribution, composition, and source appointment of PAHs of the sediments were examined. The impacts of PAHs on ecological system were assessed using toxic equivalence quotient (TEQ) of potentially carcinogenic PAHs (TEQ carc) and sediment quality guidelines. The average PAHs concentrations ranged from 2161 ng/g in Love River sediment to 160 ng/g in Ho-Jin River sediment. This could be due to the fact that Love River Basin had much higher population density and pyrolytic activities. High-ring PAHs (4–6 rings) contributed to 59–90% of the total PAHs concentrations. Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) had the highest toxic equivalence quotient (up to 188 ng TEQ/g). Moreover, the downstream sediments contained higher TEQ of total TPHs than midstream and upstream sediment samples. The PAHs were adsorbed onto the fine particles with high organic content. Results from diagnostic ratio analyses indicate that the PAHs in two urban river sediments might originate from oil/coal combustion, traffic-related emissions, and waste combustion (pyrogenic activities). Future pollution prevention and management should target the various industries, incinerators, and transportation emission in this region to reduce the PAHs pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-674
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Ecological impact
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Sediment quality
  • Source identification
  • Toxic equivalence quotient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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