Quantitative analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants
Perez, S.; Guillamon, M.; Barcelo, D.
Journal of Chromatography A 938(1-2): 57-65
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9673 DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9673(01)01338-3
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important group of organic contaminants present in sewage sludge. Due to their persistence and toxic potential, information about their presence in sewage sludge is needed in order to assess applicability on agricultural land. A method for the gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) determination was developed and applied to the trace determination of PAHs present in sewage sludge samples from six wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) differing in the type of treatment and the origin of wastewater. PAHs were extracted from freeze-dried samples by a dichloromethane-methanol (2:1) mixture in a sonication bath. The sludge extracts were cleaned-up by an alumina column. The method showed recovery values varying from 60 to 98%. Four surrogate standards ((2H8)naphthalene, (2H10)anthracene, (2H12)benzo(a)anthracene, and (2H12)benzo(ghi)perylene) were used for quantitation by GC-MS. A reference sludge sample was analysed in order to validate the method. The sum of the 16 US Environmental Protection Agency PAHs analysed in the sewage sludge samples varied from 1.13 to 5.52 mg/kg. No significant difference between the different WWTPs was found.