Spatio-temporal evaluation of organic contaminants and their transformation products along a river basin affected by urban, agricultural and industrial pollution

Gómez, M.ía.J.é; Herrera, S.; Solé, D.; García-Calvo, E.; Fernández-Alba, A.R.

Science of the Total Environment 420: 134-145

2012


ISSN/ISBN: 1879-1026
PMID: 22326139
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.01.029
Accession: 055863864

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Abstract
This study aims to assess the occurrence, fate and temporal and spatial distribution of anthropogenic contaminants in a river subjected to different pressures (industrial, agricultural, wastewater discharges). For this purpose, the Henares River basin (central Spain) can be considered a representative basin within a continental Mediterranean climate. As the studied river runs through several residential, industrial and agricultural areas, it would be expected that the chemical water quality is modified along its course. Thereby the selection of sampling points and timing of sample collection are critical factors in the monitoring of a river basin. In this study, six different monitoring campaigns were performed in 2010 and contaminants were measured at the effluent point of the main wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in the river basin and at five different points upstream and downstream from the WWTP emission point. The target compounds evaluated were personal care products (PCPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pesticides. Results show that the river is clearly influenced by wastewater discharges and also by its proximity to agricultural areas. The contaminants detected at higher concentrations were the PCPs. The spatial distribution of the contaminants indicates that the studied contaminants persist along the river. In the time period studied no great seasonal variations of PCPs at the river collection points were observed. In contrast, a temporal trend of pesticides and PAHs was observed. Besides the target compounds, other new contaminants were identified and evaluated in the water samples, some of them being investigated for the first time in the aquatic environment. The behaviour of three important transformation products was also evaluated: 9,10-anthracenodione, galaxolide-lactone and 4-amino-musk xylene. These were found at higher concentrations than their parent compounds, indicating the significance of including the study of transformation products in the monitoring programmes.